The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, has stated that the agency purposefully enlisted controversial artiste Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, for drug abuse advocacy.
Remember how controversy surrounded a video of Naira Marley advising young people to stop using illegal drugs? This was especially true given the singer’s penchant for glorifying and encouraging drug use.
Why We Chose Naira Marley for Drug Abuse Advocacy— NDLEA
Babafemi stated in an interview with Saturday Beats, “It is an advocacy engagement with him.” It is one of the agency’s responsibilities to promote advocacy messages that discourage people from abusing substances. It all comes down to the message.
“Don’t forget that he has a lot of young followers— Marlians— that look up to him. The idea is for the leader of the movement (Marlians) to come out and ask people to stop substance abuse, and live a new life.”
The drug agency’s spokesperson also stated that using Marley as an advocate does not guarantee that he will not be arrested if caught with illegal substances.
He said, “Last year, we arrested some of his artistes (Zinoleesky and Mohbad). That is to show that we are not closing our eyes. If the same Naira Marley is caught with illicit substances tomorrow, he will face sanctions.”
Babafemi went on to say that critics should consider the message rather than the messenger.
Reactions to NDLEA’s Actions
Tonto Dikeh, an actress, was among those who criticized Naira Marley’s selection. On social media, she stated, “NDLEA, you are looking like a disgrace. This is not an insult, but this is from a daughter of the soil speaking out on your misconduct.
“I don’t involve myself in rubbish, especially that of other people. This, I must say, is the biggest embarrassment from any government agency/drug law enforcement agency. I would like to say more, but I’ll wait for NDLEA to pick me up for an interview/drug test/or just a chat. You know my address. I ask you to do it respectfully; otherwise we’ll have a problem. And, if I am replied I would gladly respond disrespectfully.”
Ossai Success, an aide to former Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, vowed to sue NDLEA if he saw Naira Marley smoking again after his visit to the agency. He said this in a Facebook Post.
He wrote, “I will sue NDLEA if I see Naira Marley or any of the artistes signed to his record label smoking in his music video or on ground. I am watching him carefully because I am happy with this campaign.”
An instagram user, Joshua Ominuta, also wrote, “So you guys couldn’t find a responsible human being to promote your stuff?”
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