The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has addressed misconceptions surrounding their engagement with music sensation Afeez Adeshina Fashola, aka Naira Marley.
NDLEA‘s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, clarified that Naira Marley has not been made an ambassador for the agency.
The speculations came after the “Issa Goal” crooner gave the advice during a visit to the Abuja headquarters of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday. The singer was in the NDLEA headquarters where he met with the Chief Executive Officer, Buba Marwa, to declare support for the campaign against drug abuse.
NDLEA’s intention was to leverage Naira Marley’s massive platform, followed by over seven million people, to spread anti-substance abuse messages. This initiative aligns with their strategy to curb drug abuse in Nigeria.
The agency highlighted the pivotal choice of supporting an artist who, after counseling, committed to discouraging drug use among his followers. They stressed the importance of unity and accountability in fostering positive change.
The NDLEA emphasized the need to utilize Naira Marley’s influence to fight substance abuse, maintaining that this cooperative approach is crucial for the well-being of Nigerian youth.
The statement reads: “This is a misleading and absolute falsehood as the pictures of the visit and the short video containing Naira Marley’s advocacy message to his followers were properly captioned and shared by the Agency without any suggestion of such appointment.
“The decision by the Agency to encourage Naira Marley with over seven million followers, half the population of those who abuse drugs in Nigeria, to use his platform to share anti-substance abuse messages as against using same to promote and glamourize drug abuse with the dire consequence of misleading millions of Nigerian youths into their peril, is to create a balance between our drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts.
“This is also in line with the Agency’s whole society approach to the fight against drug abuse, and in tune with global best practice as well as the theme for this year’s World Drug Day; ‘People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention’. When an artiste, who professes marijuana is good to seven million followers turns a new leaf after some serious counseling, do we reject him, turn our back on him and allow him to continue in his old habit or do we accept him, give him a chance so he can reach out to his followers to quit substance abuse?
“In other words, why should we take our anti-drug abuse advocacy messages to schools, churches, mosques, marketplaces, motor parks, Nollywood, Kannywood, traditional rulers, labor, and the entertainment industry but when one of their members accepts to turn a new leaf, we turn our back to him? These are questions those opposed to Naira Marley’s needed change may have to ponder.
“Indeed, no one is better suited to take the message against drug abuse to the Marlians than the head of the same movement. This is no time for mischief or cynicism but the right moment we all need to encourage the singer and hold him accountable to his public commitment against substance abuse in his video message to his followers in the overall interest of our youths.”
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