The United Nations has disowned viral reports and news claiming that the organization called for the legalization of cannabis in Nigeria. read here).
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said a statement issued by representatives of the organization during a visit to the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics in Abuja, was totally misquoted.
The organization also added that their presentation at the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Abuja, on March 26, was on “The need to check the rising menace of pharmaceutical drugs abuse amongst youth in Nigeria”. At no point did it call for the lealization of cannabis in Nigeria, the UNODC said in a statement.
The statement below:
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has distanced the organization from the news making the rounds that the organization called for the decriminalization of Cannabis in Nigeria.
In a statement today in Abuja the UNODC said during its visit to Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Abuja at which it made a presentation at the public hearing on ‘The need to check the rising menace of pharmaceutical drugs abuse amongst youth in Nigeria’ on 26 March, 2018, it never said what was reported in the media.
According to the Outreach and Communications Officer, Mr. Sylvester Atere, the news totally misquoted the UNODC views and warned that this could jeopardize the long existing relationship with Nigeria.
“To keep the record straight, on invitation by the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, UNODC made a presentation at the public hearing and reiterated the following recommendations contained in 2017 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report, where the Board urges all Governments to:
Gather data on prevalence of drug-use disorders and the accessibility and utilization of treatment;
Invest in making treatment and rehabilitation evidence-based;
Allocate sufficient resources to treatment and rehabilitation, the two major components of demand reduction;
Pay particular attention to special population groups;
Share, nationally and internationally, best practices and build capacity;
Stimulate research into new interventions.
On being asked specifically on cannabis, he said “our representative clearly stated that legalization of Cannabis is not supported by the three UN international drug conventions (Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol; Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971; UN convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988). The UNODC did not urge Nigeria to legalize cannabis.”
See attached our submission to the Senate Committee. We remain available to discuss this with you. I hope that you will take urgent action on this issue as it creates the wrong impression of what the UN stands for and the support that we provide to Nigeria.
Kindly see annexed the accurate delivered position of the UNODC at the above public hearing at the Senate with the hope that this will clarify the matter.
We hold you in high regards, and we would always do