National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disclosed that an estimated sixteen million Nigerians are in use narcotic drugs.
This was made known at the official presentation of an anti-drug abuse campaign tagged Be Smart, Don’t Start.
The campaign is jointly promoted by the Agency in collaboration with the Celebrity Drug-Free Club. Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency Ahmadu Giade while unveiling the television commercial said that efforts must be made to reduce drug use through advocacy and public enlightenment.
The commercial hinted, “sixteen million (16,000,000) Nigerians use cannabis commonly known as hemp while seven million (7,000,000) Nigerians use cocaine, heroin or both. Seventy-seven thousand, four hundred and eighty-eight (77,488) suspected drug traffickers were arrested by the NDLEA between 2000 and 2013 for various drug offences even as over one hundred (100) officers died in the line of duty since the Agency commenced operations in 1990”.
Members of the Celebrity Drug-Free Club that featured in the commercial include, Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy and Chief Executive Officer of Prime Time Entertainment, Mr Dayo Adeneye also known as D1, President of Drug Salvation Foundation and Convener of NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club Mr Wilson Ighodalo as well as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Yes Magazine, Mr Azuh Arinze. Others are Chief Executive Officer of Ouch Clothing, Mr Uche Nnaji also known as Style Doctor; Music Producer, Mr Wilson Joel and Ace Sport Broadcaster, Mr Godwin Enakhena.
Giade described the celebrities as patriotic Nigerians who are interested in the well-being of members of the public. “These ambassadors are genuinely motivated to contribute their quota to the growth and development of our country. They have invested their time and material resources towards the success of this campaign. This is one community service that is worthy of emulation. The Agency will continue to require the assistance and support of champions in various fields of human endeavours because effective drug control thrives on the principle of collective responsibility” he stated.
While calling on families, schools, organizations and individuals to take the campaign beyond the television screen; the NDLEA boss urged international organizations, corporate bodies and individuals to take advantage of this opportunity by sponsoring the commercial on national and international media stations.
Giade said, “we must continue to work very hard in reducing the number of persons who use drugs and also support the Agency in preventing casualties in the war against drug cartels. Every contribution towards drug control is a worthy investment towards a peaceful and secure society. Let me appeal to donor agencies to see this as a viable investment opportunity”.
The president of Drug Salvation Force Mr Wilson Ighodalo said that members of the Club are deeply committed to the anti-drug abuse campaign. “The production of this television commercial by the Celebrity Drug-Free Club is part of our contribution to what the NDLEA is doing to reduce the problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking. This campaign is targeted at the youths who are vulnerable to drug use. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute our quota in helping humanity” Ighodalo stated.
NDLEA Director General Mrs Roli Bode-George thanked members of the NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club for their invaluable contribution to the fight against drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria. She stressed that the Agency is willing to partner with stakeholders in line with best global practice.