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Marwa advocates drugs integrity tests on University students

Buba Marwa, NDLEA Chairman

Eyewitness reporter

Worried by the prevalence of drug abuse among youths in the country, the  Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) has advocated for the conduct of drug integrity tests among university students in the country.

The move, he said, will stem the rising cases of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
This was contained in a statement released by the Director, Media and Advocacy of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi.

The statement said that Gen. Marwa made the call at the University of Abuja while launching the drug-free university campaign.

According to him, the anti-drug agency boss also called for a partnership between the NDLEA and the university system that will allow the agency to set up outposts on campuses to further strengthen the authorities in fighting the scourge.

According to him, part of the measures to reduce drug use in the university is the proposed introduction of the Drug Integrity Test for both new and returning students.

 The Drug Integrity Test is anticipated to metamorphose into an anti-drug policy for all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. It is expected that the University of Abuja, being the University of National Unity, will be the first public university in Nigeria to adopt the Drug Integrity Test for fresh and returning students of the institution.

The Drug Integrity Test is not a punitive measure; rather it is an early detection tool to ascertain an individual’s drug use status for appropriate intervention, and timely treatment and care.

This will also entail that the university will develop a drug policy and make such available to each student.
Equally important is the need to create an NDLEA outpost on the campus where well deploy our men to assist the authorities, deter drug dealers and users within the university.”

While commending the management of the University of Abuja for collaborating with NDLEA to organise the launch, he said the theme, Drug-Free University and Tertiary Institutions, is apt and timely as there is no better time than now to combat the drug challenge in the university community and among students.

He said the menace of drug use in the country is of worrisome dimension, especially among the youth population.

“The truth on the ground indicates that our society needs to do more.

“The National Drug Use and Health Survey of 2018 showed that Nigeria has a peculiar drug use prevalence.
“And it is instructive and worrisome to know that drug use was common among those aged 25-39 years, while the age of initiation was 22 years for heroin and 19 years for cannabis.
“Note that these age groups are comprised of young people who are either in secondary or tertiary institutions or are on the cusp of graduation. To simplify the report of the survey: young people are overwhelmingly the majority of drug abusers in Nigeria.
“That is a jolting reality because youths are the building blocks of every developed nation and anything that affects the youth population affects the nation. The youth population constitutes the country’s workforce and the stronger the youth of a country, the more developed that country would be.
“One, then, wonders what will become of Nigeria with about 70% youth population, if the future of its youths is ravaged by drugs.

“To aggressively reverse the trend, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, GCFR, launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign on 26th June 2021 to commemorate the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

 The goal of WADA is to mobilize all Nigerians, especially the youth population, for active participation in the process of ridding our society of the drug menace.

As one of the worst-hit age groups by the drug menace, Nigerian youths are critical stakeholders to the attainment of the laudable goals of WADA.

Since the launch of WADA, the Agency has initiated evidence-based prevention activities, which include focused advocacy, drug awareness campaign, sensitization, treatment and care of People Who Use Drugs (PWUD).
“We have launched a renewed campaign and intensive sensitization, targeting youths in schools at all levels as well as youths out of school” he stated.

The NDLEA boss added that some years ago, the agency opted to address the drug problem among youths by setting up in schools the Drug-Free Clubs.

 The pervasiveness and magnitude of the drug use problem have necessitated the change in the name of the club from Drug-Free Club to War Against Drug Abuse Club―WADA Club for short―to inject a renewed vibe and vigour into the club and its members.

He said the essence of the event was to officially launch the WADA Club in the University of Abuja and to formally inaugurate the War Against Drug Abuse Ambassadors (WADA Ambassadors) among the staff of the institution.

He charged the students in the spirit of true patriotism to desire and work towards a country devoid of drugs and its attendant consequences.

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Headlines

IMO tasks Mobereola to sustain NIMASA’s leadership role in regional maritime industry

—– hails his appointment as DG
The Eyewitness Reporter
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has lauded the leadership role of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the maritime industry within the West African sub-region which it said has stabilized maritime administration in the region.
In his congratulatory letter to Dr. Dayo Mobereola, the new NIMASA DG, the Secretary General of IMO Arsenio Dominguez, observed with satisfaction the collaborative efforts of NIMASA that have brought relative peace to the troubled Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He therefore charged Mobereola to sustain the tempo of activities that will keep the momentum going in the areas of safety, security and building of strong maritime institutions.
In a conveyance letter personally signed by him, the IMO Secretary-General recognized the strides of the Agency in building a robust maritime sector in Nigeria, adding that the IMO commends the significant effort, initiatives, and investment that Nigeria has made in strengthening its maritime institutions.

In the words of Dominguez, “The focus on strengthening maritime law enforcement and security architecture has been welcomed by seafarers and flag States.

“The Deep Blue project and the C4i Centre as well as maritime piracy laws under the SPOMO Act are just some of the many investments that have set a new gold standard in the region in maritime security capacity building”.

“IMO has long supported the regional role of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and its Member States in strengthening maritime security and law enforcement.

” In this respect, we have been greatly encouraged with the continuation of this regional ownership with the formation and work of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GoG-MCF/SHADE) in 2021”.

He commended the Agency’s partnership with the various regional bodies and expressed the readiness of the IMO to work with Nigeria and other member states on many maritime issues with the aim of jointly tackling these issues.

“NIMASA’s partnership with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) and the collaboration with the shipping industry, navies and the Yaoundé architecture has been instrumental in suppressing the threat of piracy to merchant vessels and seafarers in line with UN Security Council resolution 2634 (2022) on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea and IMO Assembly resolution A.1159 (32)”.

” I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on many of the maritime issues that we are jointly tackling and hope to welcome you in person at the IMO, he said.

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Headlines

Eastern shippers, freight forwarders on collision course with Shippers’ Council over increase in haulage rate

Akutah Pius Ukeyima, ES, NSC
The Eyewitness Reporter
Importers, Exporters and freight forwarders playing their trade in the South East region of the country have rejected the recent 200 percent hike in haulage rate by the Nigerian Shippers’Council.
They described the increase as “outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable.”
In a press conference called by the aggrieved shippers in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, they claimed that if the hike was not reversed, it would bring them on a collision course with the Shippers’ Council.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the aggrieved group, Joshua Ahuama, Zonal Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Customs Licenced Agents (ANLCA), claimed that the rate will not only lead to spiral inflation but also in contravention of the provisions of the NSC Act.
He disclosed that the group shall give the Shippers’Council a seven-day ultimatum to reverse to status quo or face withdrawal of their services at the Eastern ports.
He accused the council of not consulting concerned stakeholders before arriving at the decision, saying consultations are an integral part of the NSC Act.
 “Recently, the NSC approved a 200 percent increment in haulage rate for transport owners and drivers operating under the Maritime Union of Nigeria.
“To this end, importers and freight forwarders associations in the eastern zone have unanimously disputed the new rate because it is outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable to all stakeholders in the zone.
“We have, however, resolved to adopt all peaceful efforts. We started this move on March 14 by calling on the NSC to ensure proper stakeholder engagement and renegotiation.

” These measures are also expected to help all parties to reach a benchmark that would be in the interest of all stakeholders in the maritime value chain,” Ahuama noted.

 “We also urge the NSC to return to the status quo by suspending the implementation of the disputed rate, pending proper renegotiation covering the interest of all stakeholders.

“We are not on a selfish course. Our demands are in the interest of Nigerians because any slight increase in the haulage rate will reflect on the prices of goods in the open market.

“A businessman incorporates total logistic costs into the prices of goods.”

However, the group said they might be constrained to take drastic measures, including suspending all declarations of goods and payments of customs duties, which could negatively affect national revenue and economic output.

Some members of the import and export associations present at the meeting included the Nigeria Shippers Association, the Aba International Traders Association, the Ultimate Importers Association, the POP Importers Association, the Nnewi Importers Association, and the Onitsha Importers Association.

However, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has said that the new approved rate took into consideration the cost, moderation and other cargo transport issues.
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Customs

Performance of Apapa Customs scanning officers excites Comptroller Jaiyeoba

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Area Controller of Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba has lauded the uncompromising attitude of the officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) which he said has been invaluable to the overall success of the command.
Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who was on an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork as a strong basis to sustain the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.
He thanked Deputy Comptroller Salamatu Atuluku, the Officer in charge of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices
According to him, no business person who is made to part with money will be happy with officers who refused to compromise the ethics of their job
” The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you but I have seen your work and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen about your work.
“You are doing very well. I just want to encourage you to work as a team. If you don’t work as a team, you give room for outsiders to come in and when they come in, they divide you and when they divide you,  achieving success will be very difficult
” Do your work without blemish. Once you keep your arm straight, you can stand before anybody. Your work as a customs officer is to ensure that you do the correct thing
” For those of you doing an intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is no body who part with money that will be happy with you.
“They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person.
“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy.
“It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work. These demands require sacrifice so that you can maintain the status” he said.
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