Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has tasked the government of Guinea Bissau to demonstrate the political will to deal with drug trafficking menace bedeviling the country.
“Guinea Bissau is facing a real drug problem. The country cannot solve this alone as its suffering from weak institutions and does not have the means to effectively patrol its borders, both land and sea.
“No country could meet such a challenge alone; the government therefore must demonstrate the political will to address this issue if they want to get the regional and international help which the country needs,” President Obasanjo stated after a three-day visit to Guinea Bissau.
A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency by Mrs Araba Arhin, Programme Coordinator at the West Africa Commission on Drug (WACD) on Thursday stated.
Former President Obassanjo, who is the WACD Chairman, led a team which included Christine Kafondo, from Burkina Faso and Dr. Alpha Diallo, from Guinea (Conakry) to better understands the situation in Guinea Bissau.
According to the statement, Dr. Diallo deplored the lack of solid data on drug abuse and addiction in Guinea Bissau and encouraged the authorities to conduct a study on the matter.
He also expressed concern about the state of the only drug rehabilitation centre in the country, which is ill-equipped to fulfill its functions.
Ms Kafondo was astonished that the youth did not know enough about the risks associated with drug use and called for a public campaign to raise awareness.
“Where drugs transit, there is usually consumption. We must take preventive measures,” she stated.
The WACD team met with a broad range of interlocutors during their visit: the transitional President, the Prime Minister, members of government, military, police and judicial authorities, the international community, and representatives of international organizations.
Others were: the diplomatic community, students from the Amilcar Cabral University of Bissau, drug patients at Rehabilitation Centre Quinhamel, the press and civil society.
Mr Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace laureate, launched the WACD at the beginning of the year in response to the surge in traffic and consumption of drugs in West Africa during the last decade.
According to the statement, WACD would visit Mali from August 26 to 28.
In parallel to these visits, the Commission has also commissioned a number of expert reports on various aspects of drug trafficking and consumption in the region.
It said WACD would publish a report on the impact of drug trafficking and consumption on governance, security and public health early 2014, which would include recommendations for West Africa states, but also for major producer and consumer countries as well as regional and international organizations. GNA