By Olimatou Coker
The Minister of the Interior has called on Gambians and residents of the country to be vigilant and complement government’s efforts in the crusade agianst drugs and related activities by reporting suspicious drug trafficking and related criminal activities.
Yankuba Sonko made these remarks in a televised statement on the commemoration of international day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
“The theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘better knowledge for better care’. Recently, the field of addressing the world drugs problem has been plagued by misinformation of many kinds. The theme therefore emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of people on the world drug problem to foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security,” he explained.
“As nations across the globe continue to battle and contain the spread of COVID-19, we call on individuals, communities and organizations to get involved in the campaign through media platforms.
Similarly, we should always remind ourselves, families and communities about the effects and dangers associated with illicit drug trafficking and abuse while adhering to health and safety guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the corona virus”.
He said government renews its commitment to attain health, security and justice for all by tackling threats posed by drug abuse and trafficking. “My Ministry will continue to provide the necessary leadership to ensure that the Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Gambia (DLEAG) implement the National Drug Control Strategy (2019-2023) and enforce the Drug Control Act in line with the three international drug conventions, namely single convention on narcotic drugs, convention on psychotropic substances and the convention against illicit traffic of narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances.”
“The Gambia through DLEAG will implement robust actions to strengthen our interdiction capacity and support criminal justice processes in order to ensure speedy trial of persons charged with drug related offences within the framework of human rights-based approach to law enforcement. This will guarantee the right of accused persons and promote compliance with national and international legal requirements.”
He therefore highlighted that, The Gambia like other countries in the sub-region remains vulnerable to the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs.
“It is evident that there is a clear connection between illicit drug trafficking and terrorist financing, money laundering.
“Over the years, DLEAG is engage in tailor made drug demand reduction activities including radio talk shows, community sensitisation, school outreach programs among others. These activities are geared towards providing people with the right information in order to make informed decision on drugs and related matters,” he said
He thanked all civil society organisations, youth groups and other stakeholders who have been collaborating with DLEAG in creating awareness and fostering public support in this noble crusade.