By Ibironke Ariyo, Abuja.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has urged traditional, religious and community leaders to champion the campaign against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in their communities.
Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the Chairman of NDLEA, made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The NDLEA boss spoke when he visited Igumale, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State, to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the agency’s area command office in the community.
The foundation-laying ceremony and the inauguration of a 20-kilometre road was facilitated by Rep. Ottah Agbo, member, representing Ado-Ogbadigbo-Okpokwu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives,
Marwa urged the traditional ruler of Igumale, Chief Joseph Ikor, to see the siting of an NDLEA office in his domain as a call to mobilise his subjects.
This, he said, was to reject substance abuse and support ongoing efforts to eliminate access to illicit drugs, which were wreaking havoc on families and communities.
“Both developments are signs of the importance of this community and local government to Nigeria’s welfare,” he said.
Marwa said that the command was also a testament that Igumale community was not left out of the dividends of democracy by its leaders.
He commended Rep. Agbo, who is Chairman, House Committee on Narcotic Drugs, for his passion and commitment to efforts to make Nigeria a drug-free country.
He said that the lawmaker was about making history with his sponsorship of a bill to compel political office seekers to take the Drug Integrity Test, from 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 hope will be passed before the end of the ninth National Assembly.
“Even as he worked on the national stage, he also remains an embodiment of the saying that ‘charity begins at home’,” he said.
Marwa urged the community and the people of the constituency to do their best to ensure they kept the communities free from illicit drugs.