The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in collaboration with HealthGarde International marked the ‘United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2022’ with a confab of screen and stage celebrities, including star comedians Friday July 15 at the Healthgarde Centre in Ikeja, Lagos.
The confab, an initiative of the Wilson Ighodalo-led NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club, was a rallying point to address drug abuse challenges especially among young Nigerians and to explore advocacy among celebrities through sensitization and enlightenment of the public to fight the growing menace.
At the confab tagged: “Best Approaches to Drug Control: Role of Entertainment Industry Practitioners” the NDLEA representative, Asst. General Segun Oke, representing the Chairman, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) explained the importance of educating Nigerians on the dangers of drug abuse.
He said, “One of the strategies of the new management of NDLEA is our all-out War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to widen public awareness of drug abuse.”
CSP Gbenga Stephen, dressed in his weekend fatigues and representing the Lagos State Commissioner of Police said, “NDLEA is ensuring that drug abuse is curbed to the minimum and the Nigerian Police is also not left out in this effort.”
The National Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug Free Club, Wilson Ighodalo offered some facts and figures on how abuse and the drug trade continue to run down the sanity and sobriety of the Nigerian youth. He said, “Nigeria still remains a key hub of drug trafficking and cannabis remains the most abused drug in our country, and as a nation we must invest massively in health and community intervention amongst other things if we want to win this fight.”
Speaking on behalf of an array of entertainment stars, comedian Gbenga Adeyinka pointed out that the entertainment industry has a lot to do in terms of advocacy especially among young Nigerians. He said, “NDLEA should arrest, prosecute and jail celebrities that use and abuse hard drugs, especially on social media because those are the areas where bad behaviour is becoming endemic.”
The Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA Lagos State Command, Eziaghighala Chinyerem explained that the prevalence of drug abuse amongst youths increases daily and so does the number of out-of-school children.
Eziaghighala said, “It is even more worrisome that the age of indulgence has come below 10 years with secondary students and primary pupils now doing hard drugs habitually and the growing numbers are alarming.”
The CEO, HealthGarde International, Lovelyn Nneka Nwarueze who also spoke at the confab highlighted the importance of quality drug usage. She advised the public to start caring about their general wellbeing and to always go for drugs made with 100 percent natural products.