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Veep Calls For Increased Intelligence on Drugs

Amissah ArthurThe Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has called for the intensification of intelligence gathering to block the sources of finance that sustain drug trafficking on the African continent.

He said traffickers had become sophisticated and sometimes teamed up with some financial institutions to launder the proceeds from their illegal activities, hence the need for the alertness.

Mr Amissah-Arthur made the call when a delegation of the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), led by Commissioner Justice Bankole Thompson, paid a courtesy call on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra Tuesday.

The WACD aims to mobilise public awareness and political commitment, develop evidence-based policy recommendations on how to address drug trafficking and dependency and promote local and regional capacities to deal with drug trafficking and dependency issues.

The Vice-President expressed grave concerns over the way drug traffickers had infiltrated educational institutions and supported the call for intensive education, particularly among the youth and organised groupings.

“There is the need for us to identify and confront this problem, particularly among our schoolchildren in whom the drug barons are investing now,” he said.

A former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the Chairman of WACD, said the commission had begun an outreach to visit several countries in West Africa and engage with government officials, civil society and actors from the Judiciary, the law enforcement and security agencies, as well as local media.

“In totality, we want to see which legislation is flexible enough to deal with the dichotomy as to which of the drug problems should be treated as social or medical,” he said.

For his part, Justice Thompson said drug users were irresponsible individuals who must be made to face the full rigours of the law.

He identified the social causes of the problem such as unemployment and the break in social system which he intimated must also be dealt with.

Justice Thompson also advocated the harmonisation of laws on drug offences across the West African sub-region, saying, “Some of the laws are harsh and do not necessarily bring about the needed results.”

Source: Daily Graphic

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