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Prominent civil rights Advocacy Group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that the alleged call by Senator Francis Fadahunsi for the National Drugs Law enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to allow entertainers do drugs if they choose to, has been described as the ‘greatest disservice’ to the youth of Nigeria even as the Rights group rejected the proposal.
HURIWA has also cautioned against voting into political offices persons with links to hard drugs trafficking or addiction even as the Rights group said Nigeria will become like Columbia or Mexico and be termed a pariah state should anyone with even the remotest link to a harddrug related court conviction in any part of the World and especially in the United States of America is declared the winner of the next year’s Presidential poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
HURIWA recalled that news report citing an interview grabtedto a natiknal daily, has it that a senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, had urged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency not to take the drug war to the entertainment industry.
HURIWA recalled that the news report quoted Fadahunsi sas saying that entertainment was the only viable sector in Nigeria that had been a source of inspiration to the youth which had kept them busy amidst the depressing economy.
HURIWA also recalled that while lamenting that the youth were not willing to do anything productive, Fadahunsi said the government must continue to let them drive the economy through what they had chosen just as the senator was quoted by thecmedia report to have affirmed as follows: “The elite must encourage the youth to return to farms so they can start somewhere. Many youths already mismanaged the COVID-19 stimulus package shared because they thought it was free money. We don’t want our youths to embrace banditry and kidnappings because it is not a ‘booming’ business for those in it.
“Nollywood and the entertainment industry generally is the largest recruiter of labour at the moment. “the NDLEA puts fire to the industry, the youth will revolt and it will be too dangerous for our country. Many people will run away because we have millions of youths in the entertainment industry.”
Reacting, HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the alleged sympathetic posture to addiction to hard drugs by some entertainers in Nigeria, has shown that the time has come for a legislation to be made compelling all would- be political office holders to undergo drug tests periodically especially before they go for election.
HURIWA reminded the Senator that even international USA which is the global epicentre of the entertainment industry, anti hard drugs regulations and strict laws are followed.
HURIWA which condemned the statement purportedly made by Senator Fadahunsi which may imply that those in the entertainment industry in Nigeria should be allowed to do drugs if they like, also stated that strategically, the NDLEA is a federal law enforcement Agency established by Decree No. 48 of 29th December 1989 now a law of the National Assembly of the Federation.
The promulgation of the decree was chiefly in response to the rising trend in the demand for and trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which adversely affected the international image of Nigerians and Nigeria in the 1980s. Since then the trafficking of illicit substances has become an organised criminal activity that undermines the security and development of the country and therefore demands urgent attention and priority from the government.
Besides, HURIWA recalled that the NDLEA is in charge of drug policy and control in Nigeria. Within this purview, the Agency has the mandate to curtail illicit production, importation, exportation, sale and trafficking of psychoactive substances. Employees of NDLEA carry out interdiction and destruction of narcotic drugs and other illicit substances. They also engage in preventive drug abuse activities such as advocacy and counselling, and rehabilitation of drug users.
HURIWA applauded NDLEA under the leadership of Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa for pursuing the fulfillment of the mandate of the Agency, in which thousands of expert narcotic operatives and well-trained support staff of NDLEA work across Nigeria with a visible presence at international airports, seaports, border crossing and major highways. Committed to keeping society safe from the dangers of illicit substances and their purveyors, NDLEA operatives are actively engaged in the tracking, arrest and prosecution of traffickers of dangerous substances under the various relevant drug laws of Nigeria.
HURIWA encouraged the NDLEA to use law based mechanisms to sanitise the Nigeria’s entertainment industry of any addiction to hard drugs and illicit substances by any practitioner just as the Rights group said the setting up of rehabilitation centres by the NDLEA if carried through and the national toll free call centres if adequately administered will go a long way to help any entertainer who is mistakenly gets hooked to hard drugs.