Marwa’s drug test for office holders

The recent prescription by the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, to the that public office holders should be made to undergo an integrity drug test reinforces its veracity as a panacea for the high profile corruption and kleptomania bedeviling the country. 
Marwa said in Abuja recently that the idea behind the call for the test “is to reduce the prevalence of drug abuse” in the country. He called on state governments as well as ministries, departments and agencies to consider conducting drug tests on public office holders.
He also recommended the test for students seeking admission into higher institutions, those returning from vacation and intending couples.
“We need to think out of the box with the situation we face to reduce the use of drugs, especially to reduce the use of drugs for our youth, who are the bulk users of drugs. For instance, we feel that tertiary institutions need to do drug test for their students before they start school or when they are returning from holidays.
“If they test positive, it will affect their progress in school. The test will help us know those that need help early enough before it gets worse. It is the same line of thinking that in Nigeria, like anywhere else in the world, once a youth, after completing school and getting a job, the next thing is marriage.
“Since in Nigeria we go for genotype test, we do HIV test before marriage, voluntarily, why ’t we add drug test the list, so that it will further propel reduction in the prevalence? Anybody that is positive will cut back because his or her intended wife, husband or in-laws may not be comfortable. We believe from cutting back, he or she will stop the habit or the prospective in-laws will rally round to help.”
Marwa appealed to religious leaders and parents to consider adopting the test for their children and their members before marriage. He commended Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state for initiating and implementing drug tests for political office holders and called on other state governors to emulate him.
“We have a request from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the School of Infantry, where we were able to carry out drug tests on their warrant officers. We did that at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.”

It is instructive that a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, had advocated that Nigerian politicians should undergo “psychiatric test” before entrusting offices to them.

This, Waziri said, was necessary to ascertain the mental state of Nigerian politicians who often enrich themselves by looting the country’s treasuries. While noting that many Nigerian politicians own houses abroad that they don’t live in, Waziri said it was high time the country moved to not only prosecute criminals, but to also prevent corruption as it was always difficult to recover stolen funds.

 “I sit down sometimes and wonder what corrupt Nigerians are thinking of. Somebody gets a big position and thinks he needs a big house in the United States and then jets out to buy a mansion. He comes back and then wants a house in Europe. He jets out to the UK to buy one and then thinks of the UAE, he jets out to Dubai and buys one and he is not satisfied.

“He then jets out to South Africa to buy one. I went to Pretoria and I was taken to a street which was vacated by De Boers, the white farmers who had left South Africa, and I was shown houses owned by Nigerians. They looked like cathedrals to me.

“They looked like haunted houses and when these Nigerians travel to South Africa, they can’t stay there so they lodge in hotels. So, what is the aim? What goes on in their minds? And that is why I said that before the government employs anyone to positions of authority, let them be medically examined. They need psychiatric test,” she added.Mrs. Farida Waziri reiterated her position seven years after while delivering a speech at the inauguration of the Nigerian Women Against Corruption project, organised by the EFCC and the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari in Abuja recently. She cited examples of megalomania, unjustified treasure-looting and obsessive accumulation of needless property at home and abroad from current Nigerian politicians.

Given the seemingly intractable high wire corruption by public office holders who are apparently suffering from compulsive-obsessive psychiatric disorder, we cannot agree more with the need for drug test on public office holders. We, therefore, urge President Muhammadu Buhari  to, as a matter of utmost national importance, prepare and send a bill to the National Assembly that would compel all political office appointees to undergo a psychiatric test to determine their mental status.