By Lansana Fofanah.
The pragmatic Minister of Internal Affairs, Edward Soloku was last week chosen by his colleague Ministers to chair a meeting of Ministers from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and Mauritania in Abuja aimed at renewing their commitment in battling drug abuse at both regional and national levels.
The meeting which brought together political heads from the ECOWAS member states was aimed at reflecting on gains made so far in the fight against drug abuse and to clearly identify a road map for future actions that will address thorny issues in the region.
Recommendations that emerged from the deliberations among Ministers and also the ECOWAS Supplementary Act on Drug Prevention and Control in West Africa and the Report of the outcome of the 12th Experts Meeting of the IMDCC were also presented which will serve as guiding principles for the implementation of action plans by member states.
The Minister said in his opening remarks that the Status Report on the Implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan to address illicit drug trafficking, drug abuse and organized crime in West Africa-2020 and the West Africa Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (WENDU) are necessary documents that will guide policy advocacy and programming. He therefore urged member state to adopt the outcome of the meeting and push for their implementation and that commitment from political heads should not be the last result, but stakeholders, professional bodies, non state actors must be involved in every step for better results.
Various Ministers expressed optimistic views about the impact the meeting will have as people are looking forward to the social, political and economic development of the region once the drug menace has been tackled.
Chairman Soloku afterwards described the meeting as fruitful and one that will shape the future of the region.