By Elias Hakizimana.
With the efforts of faith based organisations and Religious leaders, Rt.Rev Bishop Alexis Birindabagabo and police in partnership with Nyagatare leadership burned yesterday illicit drugs called ‘Zebra’ Gin worth about Rwf40million in Agafaru Centre, Nyagatoma cell, Tabagwe Sector of Nyagatare District.
These illicit drugs were collected only in last three months.
At least 5,000 citizens were gathered there with Religious leaders, District’s officials and security entities.
Bishop Birindabagabo who is the leader of Gahini Anglican Church in the Eastern Province said that it is an ongoing campaign that started so far after government entities call Religious Leaders and Faith-based Organizations governed by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) to jointly fight drug abuse.
“We partner with districts and Rwanda National Police to end drug abuse among our community. In this campaign, we expect to reduce drastically drug abuse by the end of the year 2018. We plan to conduct a mass mobilization and reduce drugs use at a significant level,” Birindabagabo said.
Nyagatare is among the districts that are on boarders as it is near Uganda where many drugs are coming from.
“We are at the border and it is easy that drug traffickers bring them and apart from being poison, they are brought in plastic bags which are also harmful to the environment,” he added.
The citizens were also warned on prevention of Malaria and HIV, encouraged to have health insurance ‘Mituelle de Sante’, respect Family Planning, education for children and good nutrition.
Speaking to The Inspirer, Mushabe D. Claudian, the Mayor of Nyagatare District said that they have so far in three months collected the drugs worth at least Rwf40 million.
He said that various measures were taken to address the issue. One of them is to have a list of everyone participating in drug transportation, distribution and consumption.
“We have to know Who is selling, who is consuming and at which level they are doing it. From Tuesday, we will start to visit three sector a day and after we will conduct a massive campaign in all the sectors bordering to Uganda including Matimba, Busheri, Tabagwe, Kiyombe, etc. We have also to do a thorough mobilization in every village in partnership with parents,” Mushabe said.
The Mayor criticized some local leaders, saying that they are not committed to fight against drugs.
“ A strategy of alerting other officials to be vigilant will also be made, It was found that we, leaders are playing a big part in the increment of drugs, we shall move toward leaders, including those in groups like Amasibo, to remind them their role in fighting against drugs” Mayor added.
The law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors in Rwanda, in its Article 24, also states “Any drink that exceeds forty-five percent of alcohol and any other drink which doesn’t have the required quality for consumption shall be considered as narcotic drug.”
Matimba, Musheri, Tabagwe, Rwempasha, Karama, Kiyombe, Rwimiyaga, Nyagatare are most affected sectors in Nyagatare as they are neighboring Uganda and there is no official border to ease formal trade in many areas apart from demarcation stones which said to be one reason drug dealers cross the area effortlessly.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital of Ndera received 1432 patients with mental illness caused by use of drugs, according to statistics from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
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