The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said that its engagement with musician Afeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, is to encourage him to use his skills and platforms to put out content that will discourage millions of his fans and Nigerian youths from substance abuse.
Naira Marley on Thursday led members of his team on a visit to the national headquarters of the NDLEA in Abuja to express his preparedness to join the fight against drug abuse in the country.
The agency came under criticism over the artiste’s visit. Actress Tonto Dikeh described NDLEA as “unserious” but maintained she had nothing against Naira Marley.
Reacting to claims that the singer was appointed its ambassador, NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi said in a statement on Saturday, “This clarification became necessary following continued misrepresentation of the purpose of the visit especially on online platforms where some reports suggest that the British-Nigerian singer was appointed as an NDLEA Ambassador. This is misleading and absolute falsehood as the pictures of the visit and the short video containing Naira Marley’s advocacy message to his followers were properly captioned and shared by the Agency without any suggestion of such appointment.
“The decision by the Agency to encourage Naira Marley with over seven million followers, half the population of those who abuse drugs in Nigeria, use his platform share anti-substance abuse messages as against using same to promote and glamourize drug abuse with the dire consequence of misleading millions of Nigerian youths into their peril, is to create a balance between our drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts.
“This is also in line with the Agency’s whole society approach to the fight against drug abuse, and in tune with global best practice as well as the theme for this year’s World Drug Day; People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention.”