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State Governments Charge to Prioritize Fight Against Substance Abuse

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State Governments Charge to Prioritize Fight Against Substance Abuse

By: Michael Mike

Major stakeholders including First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, as well as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) have charged state governments to prioritise the fight against substance abuse in their strategic work plans for a safe and secure society.

The charge was given at the opening ceremony of a two-day training on Drug Prevention Treatment and Care, DPTC, organized by NDLEA for spouses of state governors in Abuja on Monday.

In her keynote address at the event, Senator Tinubu who was special guest of honour tasked the states to see the war against the drug menace as a collective effort.

The First Lady, who was represented by wife of the Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Elizabeth Egbetokun, commended Marwa and the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum for the initiative. She said: “I commend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, under the leadership of His Excellency, Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd.) CON, OFR, for organizing this vital training and for your ongoing efforts in combatting drug abuse in Nigeria. I equally commend the Chairperson of the Nigeria Governors Spouses’ Forum, Her Excellency, Ambassador (Dr.) Olufolake Abdulrazaq for this significant collaboration.”

She said: “We must recognise that drug abuse is not just a law enforcement issue but a public health crisis that requires a compassionate and multi-faceted response. We must challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with addiction, and foster a culture of empathy, understanding and solidarity towards those struggling with substance use disorders.

“As mothers, we understand the profound impact that drug abuse can have on our children’s lives. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to protect, nurture, and guide them towards a future free from the shackles of addiction. As leaders in your respective states, you wield a unique platform to drive meaningful change. The role of Governors’ spouses in combating drug abuse cannot be overstated. Through advocacy, we can ensure access to prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services for those affected by addiction.

“However, our efforts must not end with this training. We must translate knowledge into action, collaborating with stakeholders such as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, other government agencies, civil society organisations, healthcare providers, educators, and students. Together, we can implement evidence-based strategies for prevention, early intervention, and holistic treatment approaches.”

On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, in his remarks commended the resourcefulness of the NDLEA leadership in utilising the Nigerian Governors’ Spouses Forum to cascade the drug war into the grassroots and the community level.

He said: “The issue of drug use is not confined to any region or social strata, but affects every corner of our nation, and propagates crime and other criminalities across the world. The critical role of the attendees in shaping policies and practices in the communities is therefore recognized.”

The NDLEA boss in his remarks, said the devastating effects of substance abuse on public health, the environment and its nexus with the spate of insecurity faced across the country has made it mandatory for a whole-of -society approach to curb the scourge.

He said this has been the focus of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign emplaced by the NDLEA since 2021.

Marwa, while urging the governors’ wives to take advantage of their positions to mobilise support for drug prevention and treatment in their states, said: “Our Commanders and officers in your states are always available to work with you and the governors; please create the needed access for them so that they can serve you and the society better. Together, we can effect meaningful change and create healthier, safer communities for all. Your collective effort can become the biggest catalyst for the nation to triumph over the illicit drug challenge.”

He revealed that as part of efforts to curb cultivation and production of illicit drugs in Nigeria, the agency is adopting an alternative development plan that will encourage cannabis farmers switch to other licit crops.

He said: “I will also like to draw your attention to the devastating impact activities of drug cartels involved in illicit drug cultivation are causing humanity; that is deforestation, which results in environmental degradation. In search of a lasting solution, we are working to implement an alternative development plan. This will provide cannabis farmers with better options, like switching to other crops. I have recently set up an Alternative Development Unit in my office. We need you to make this reality and our alternative development plan one of your takeaways for the immediate consideration and support of our governors. We will keep you posted as we flesh out the plan on this, this year.”

He added that by joining forces and working collaboratively, “we can turn the tide against drug abuse and build a brighter, healthier future for generations to come. Together we can do it.”

The Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack, emphasised the pivotal role of first ladies in the fight against the scourge of substance abuse.

The minister assured of collaboration between his ministry and NDLEA in combatting substance abuse among students. He said: “The curriculum in schools has been updated to include the added spice of drug issues with the necessary knowledge to avoid drug use. Drug free clubs in federal unity colleges enable children to make healthier choices.”

Other speakers at the opening ceremony include: UNODC Country Representative Dr. Oliver Stolpe; Representative of European Union, Letizia Torretta and the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, who all spoke in same light, calling for collective and collaborative efforts across society to curb the menace of drug abuse.

State Governments Charge to Prioritize Fight Against Substance Abuse

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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

By: Michael Mike

Plans are underway to further strengthen areas of partnership and collaboration between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This way revealed during the visit of the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa to the Embassy of UAE in Abuja following the removal of the visa ban by placed on Nigeria by the Arab country.

Dabiri-Erewa who was received by the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, stated that NiDCOM intends to engage and sensitize Nigerians in the UAE to be good ambassadors of their country of stay and country of origin, to excel in whatever they are doing and never to forget home.

She added further “this initiative aims to foster better understanding and compliance with local regulations”, while She disclosing that 190 Nigerians were repatriated to Nigeria, with an additional 250 expected to return soon.

She said the actions of individuals in a host country can greatly impact the overall image of their home country, noting that the role of Western media imperialism in perpetuating negative stereotypes about Nigerians.

The UAE Envoy on his part, explained that the visa ban on Nigeria has been officially lifted.

He confirmed that the Visa on Arrival policy has been canceled for all countries, but assured that the new procedures are designed to facilitate tourism and ensure travelers’ safe return.

The Ambassador expressed his commitment to providing the best possible services for Nigerians, with the support of the determined Nigerian government.

He also acknowledged the UAE’s role in safely repatriating 96 Nigerians at no cost.

Marking his one-year anniversary as the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Shamsi shared his positive impressions of Nigeria, describing it as a beautiful country with warm-hearted people who share similar cultural, religious, Android ethnic backgrounds with the UAE.

He expressed his eagerness to continue collaborating with NiDCOM to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership and Collaboration

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom Government has hosted a multi-stakeholder meeting in Abuja to discuss how its Serious & Organised Crime (SOC) Prevent Programme is making significant strides in deterring vulnerable young people from joining Organised Crime Groups in Nigeria.

Launched as a three-year pilot in December 2021, the programme is designed to disrupt Nigerian Organised Crime Groups by redirecting at-risk youth towards positive alternatives in Bayelsa, Edo, Zamfara and Lagos states.

In select local governments of these states, the SOC Prevent Programme has established robust structures and delivered various interventions, including Back-to-School Initiatives, Digital Skills Acquisition, Dance and Drama Workshops and Sports Interventions.

Collaborating closely with the Nigeria Police Force, the programme has trained 83 officers in the Prevent methodology, reinforcing the commitment to institutionalise this approach in tackling SOC, and to date, approximately 1,500 beneficiaries across the four states have been diverted from potential involvement in organised crime.

Speaking at the meeting, the Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Lever said: “Serious & Organised Crime is a priority for both Nigeria and the UK, and can take many forms. Ranging from online focussed activities like cybercrime to the physical movement of illicit commodities and people in the form of trafficking.

“Our results in Nigeria have proven that the Prevent methodology works, and it has been successful in diverting young people from choosing a life of crime. I believe that the valuable discussions that took place today will smoothen the way for Prevent to be fully institutionalised in Nigeria.”

The meeting included representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), INTERPOL, Office for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE), Ministry of Police Affairs, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and others.

The Prevent programme is an approach to tackling SOC. Others are Pursue, Protect and Prepare. Prevent methodology looks to prevent or deter people from engaging in SOC by raising awareness of the consequences of SOC and developing techniques to deter people from continuing in criminality.

UK Government Hosts Stakeholder Meeting on Serious and Organised Crime

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

By: Michael Mike

All is now set for the commissioning of multi-million naira installed solar street light by Adeola Odutola College 1979-1984 set as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the 40 years of leaving the school on Friday July 19.

In a statement, the set said the celebration which had earlier been kicked off with a thanksgiving in the Church on Sunday June 16, to mark the 75 years Founder’s Day, will witness a special Jumat service for the commemoration in the school.

According to Abiodun Balogun, the President of Adeola Odutola College Old Students Association 1979-1984 set, stated that the programme will start with the set participating in the morning assembly with the students from 8 a.m followed by a courtesy call on the Principal and Management of the school.

Thereafter, he said there would be commissioning of the installed solar street light at 11.00 a.m donated by the set to the school.

Balogun said the set will join the Muslim community of the School to observe a Jumat service specially for the set .

Other activities lined up for the anniversary include a get together and gala nite where the old students will reunite and reminiscence of their five years stay in the school.

Balogun added that the set is grateful to God for His benevolence on them as it has produced Professors and academicians, top civil servants, businessmen and women, educationists among several others both at home and in the diaspora.

It will be recalled that the set regrouped in 2014 to mark its 30 years in existence with renovation of some classrooms in the school.

Adeola Odutola College 79/84 set celebrate 40 years in grand style with multi-million naira donation of solar street light to school

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