Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has challenged traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to champion the campaign against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in their communities and spheres of influence.
He gave the charge on different occasions in Igumale, Ado local government area and Otukpo in Benue state.
According to a statement on Tuesday by the spokesperson of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, Marwa gave the advice last Sunday and Monday.
Babafemi said the NDLEA boss was in Igumale to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the agency’s Area Command office in the community.
Speaking at the palace of the community’s monarch, Chief Joseph Oche Ikor, Marwa urged the traditional ruler to see the siting of an NDLEA office in his domain as a call to mobilise his people to reject substance abuse and support ongoing efforts to eliminate access to illicit drugs wreaking havocs in families and communities.
In his remarks at the foundation laying ceremony and the inauguration of a 20-kilometre road facilitated by the member representing Ado-Ogbadigbo-Okpokwu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and who incidentally is the Chairman, House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, Hon. Francis Agbo, Marwa said “both developments are signs of the importance of this community and local government to Nigeria’s welfare and also a testament that communities in this corner of the country are not left out of the dividends of democracy by its leaders.”
Marwa, while commending Agbo for his passion and commitment to the effort to make Nigeria a drug-free country, told the community that the lawmaker was at the cusp of making history with his sponsorship of a bill to make political office seekers take the Drug Integrity Test, from the lowest position of councillorship to the highest office in the country.
“At the same time, he has also been one of the key drivers of the amendment of the NDLEA Act which we are hopeful will be passed by the National Assembly before the end of the tenure of the Ninth Assembly. Even as he worked on the national stage, he also remains an embodiment of the saying that “charity begins at home.”
Marwa admonished the community, stating that: “I will also want to use this opportunity to appeal to the good people of this constituency to do their utmost to ensure we keep our communities clean of illicit drugs. Keeping Nigeria safe from dangerous substances is the mandate of NDLEA; the mandate, however, cannot be attained without the contribution of Nigerians. We have created a vehicle to facilitate the participation of the citizenry, which is the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign.
“It is a social advocacy which we are taking to every community in this country. We started in 2021 and in the past two years, we have succeeded in getting WADA to the doorsteps of our people at the grassroots.
“As we intensify the campaign this year, I enjoin every one of you to be a part of this platform for social action where all well-meaning Nigerians become stakeholders in the concerted effort to safeguard the safety and sanity of our society against the drug scourge.”
Speaking during a WADA advocacy visit to the Ochi’Idoma of Idoma land, Agabaidu Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji John, on Monday, Marwa said traditional rulers as leaders of their people must embrace the campaign against the drug scourge in the interest of the youths, families and the security of their communities and the country as a whole.
In their responses, the monarchs and other community leaders who spoke at the different ceremonies promised to support the Marwa-led Agency to succeed in its given task while also assuring that they would work with NDLEA to rid their domains of illicit drugs.