As part of efforts to curb drug and substance abuse in the nation, the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has admonished the entertainment industry not to promote drug abuse via their craft and conduct.
The Director General of NDLEA, Brig. General Buba Marwa (Rtd), made this appeal today while speaking at a conference organized by NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club in commemoration of the 2022 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, tagged “Best Approaches To Drug Control: The Role of Entertainment Industry Practitioners”.
Marwa, who was represented by the NDLEA Assistant Commander-General, Narcotics, Mr. Segun Oke, observed that make-believes from movies, music and comedy have contributed to the abuse of drugs and substances by Nigerian youths.
At the event themed; “Addressing Drug Challenges In Health and Humanitarian Crises”, the NDLEA boss stressed that the NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club is a significant group which is also similar to the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) Initiative introduced by the present leadership of the agency.
His words: “At NDLEA, the Celebrity Drug Free Club is very important. The present NDLEA is doing something similar with WADA. WADA is an awareness strategy to get more of the populace actively contributing to the fight against drug abuse. The entertainment industry has a way of influencing the public. So, this sector could help reduce the pressure on youths to engage in drug abuse.”
“We are appealing to this industry not to send the wrong message in the quest to sell a marketable content or to influence followers. As celebrities, in the process of doing what you do, don’t send the wrong message to the public. Look out for content that promote drug abuse. Check your scripts and casts because the make-believes have a tendency to be seen as real, ideal and accepted by the public.”
Oke, however, reiterated NDLEA’s willingness to partner the entertainment sector in a bid to push further activities and awareness campaigns that would curb drug abuse.
Also speaking at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi, encouraged Nigerian celebrities and the entire entertainment industry to join fight against drugs and jettison activities that may heighten the problem.
The CP, who was represented by CSP Gbenga Stephen, stated that the high degree of crime rates and many other societal ills are results of drug and substance abuse by Nigerians.
“We can’t close our eyes to allow this menace of drug abuse continue in Nigeria. We all see the devastating effects of drug abuse in our society, especially among the youths. The Lagos Police Commissioner has reiterated the Service willingness to partner NDLEA in this crucial war against drug abuse,” he said.
Meanwhile, he expressed delight at the turn out of celebrities and other stakeholders in the entertainment sector to collaborate with NDLEA in a bid to curb the menace.
In his remarks, the National Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club, Mr. Wilson Ighodalo, posited that the primary objective of the club is to serve as a role model to colleagues and youths in the society.
Ighodalo, also thanked the NDLEA leadership for its willingness to partner the group, even as he expressed optimism that the club will continue to promote decency and win the war against drug abuse in the society.
The event was graced by celebrities including; award-winning Nigerian actor, comedian, radio and TV presenter, Mr. Gbenga Adeyinka; Nigerian comedian, Owen Osamwengie, popularly known as Owen Gee; entertainer, comedian, Musician and Actor, Koffi Idowu Nuel popularly known as Koffi; among others.