The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says the visit of music star Afeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, to the agency was not for an ambassadorial role.
Marley had visited the agency’s Abuja headquarters earlier in the week where he preached against drug abuse, urging Nigerians to shun drugs.
Social media was agog in the wake of the development with many claiming the singer bagged an ambassadorial deal with the agency during the visit.
But the NDLEA has refuted the claim, describing it as “misleading” and an “absolute falsehood”.
A Saturday statement by NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi said its engagement with the star was “to encourage him to use his skills and platforms to put out content that will discourage millions of his followers and Nigerian youths from substance abuse”.
“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,” the statement further read.
“This is a 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 an 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, to use his platform to 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 practices as well as the theme for this year’s World Drug Day; People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention.”