Dr Aminu Garba, the Co-ordinator, Africa Health Budget Network, a non-governmental organisation on Thursday, said Coronavirus (COVID-19) has posed the biggest public health challenge to the world.
Garba said this in a keynote address at a security summit organised by Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria in Abuja.
The summit sponsored by the organisation had a theme entitled: ”COVID-19, Drug Abuse, Mental Health: Implication to National Security.”
Garba said that COVID-19 threat to the world compromised education, social economic development, security and immigrations among others.
He said though the devastation caused by the pandemic in Africa was not as high as it was in other continents, it called for seriousness and collective support to curtail the spread.
Garba said the only way to make impact was to come up with strategies to prevent and combat crimes associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is why the civil society organisations will continue to dialogue with the media and the security apparatus to address the security challenges.
“We urge the organisers of this programme to come with recommendations that can be used to strengthen security in the country when implemented.
“The focus is to help the media to develop actionable and advocacy to engage different security apparatus to prevent and combat crimes,” he said.
Garba said that report from the 2020 Mental Health Conference showed that the outbreak of COVID-19 increased the prevalent of mental health issues in Nigeria from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.
“The lockdown that was associated with the COVID-19 created a lot of mental and psychological trauma to the people, resulting in domestic violence within the family, neighborhood and the society.
“The pandemic created a lot economic depression across the world and increase in substance abuse because of idleness,” he said.
In his remark, Mr Ameh Abba, founder, the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative, said hard drug misuse was a predisposing factor to committing many crimes.
He attributed the increasing rate of murder, armed robbery, arson, rape, cultism, kidnapping and acts of terrorism in the country to increasing rate of drug abuse.
“While the use of hard drugs and other substances may not necessarily cause insecurity, it makes them violent and destructive.
“The problem of insecurity has been further aggravated by the consumption of other illicit substances that induce the same effects as those of hard drugs,” he said.
Malam Hassan Zaggi, the Chairman of Crime Correspondents Association of Nigeria, said the security of the country had been threatened by the outbreak of COVID-19 and increasing rate of drug abuse.
He said the summit was to bring stakeholders together to brainstorm on ways to ameliorate the effects of the threats. (NAN)