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NDLEA intensifies war against drug abuse, appoints ambassador

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has reiterated its commitment toward ridding the country of drug abuse and ensuring a drug-free society.

NDLEA Zone I, Zonal Commander, Mrs. Joyce Awogbuyi, who spoke on the preparedness of the agency to nip the scourge in the bud, reaffirmed the steadfastness of the NDLEA towards a drug-free society.

Awogbuyi gave the assurance on Monday when the anti-narcotic agency designated the Group Managing Director of TILT Group, Chief Habeeb Okunola, as the NDLEA Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday titled, ‘NDLEA designates TILT Group CEO, High Chief Habeeb Okunola as Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse’.

During the presentation, Awogbuyi outlined the effort and initiatives being led by the NDLEA Chairman, Brigadier General, Buba Marwa (Rtd) to actualise President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) mandate of eliminating the menace of drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.

On NDLEA’s decision to honour Okunola as an Ambassador-designate, Awogbuyi said the ambassador’s commitment to youth development and support towards ensuring Nigerian youth stay drug-free sets him apart.

Okunola’s impact, she said, was helping to boost the youth’s productivity and accelerate widely shared prosperity in the country.

She said, “We are aware of your influence in Yorubaland as the ‘Akosin of Yorubaland’, as well as the humanitarian impact of your Non-Profit Organisation (Habeeb Okunola Foundation) in various communities in Nigeria, including efforts supporting the productivity and development of teeming Nigerian youth; in a bid to foster their aspiration towards building a more equitable society where everyone can participate and thrive socio-economically”.

“We believe the NDLEA’s War Against Drug Abuse can be consolidated through the reach and activities of Habeeb Okunola Foundation. Your designation as NDLEA WADA Ambassador offers the opportunity to raise awareness about the major challenge that illicit drugs represent to society and champion anti-drug abuse sensitisation campaigns, projects and programmes in various communities across Nigeria through the vehicle of Habeeb Okunola Foundation.”

Reacting to the gesture after he was decorated and presented with a letter of appointment, Okunola acknowledged the good work the Marwa-led NDLEA is doing to ensure the atrocious act of drug abuse and Illicit drug trafficking is reduced to the barest minimum in the country.

The National Drug Use and Health Survey of 2018 showed that Nigeria has a peculiar drug use prevalence. As revealed by statistics from the survey, 14.3 million Nigerians, aged 15-64 years, used psychoactive substances, while 10.6 million abused cannabis and 4.6 million others abused pharmaceutical opioids such as codeine, tramadol and morphine among others.

To aggressively reverse the trend, Buhari launched WADA campaign on June 26 2021 to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

WADA is an advocacy initiative introduced to create awareness that will suffuse society with anti-drug culture. It entails setting up coordinated anti-drug committees in States, LGAs and communities across the federation.

The goal of WADA is to mobilise the support of stakeholders across various industries and sectors for active participation in the process of ridding our society of drug menace.

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