The Lagos State Police Command has alleged that the music industry in Nigeria glamorises drug use, making policing more difficult.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin stated this at the 2023 Press Week Lecture/Symposium, organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos Chapel, recently.
According to Hundeyin, “The music industry is not helping us in any way. They glamorise drugs. Not all that glitters is gold,” saying that many superstars are involved in drug abuse.
He added that “behind most crimes in the society, there is substance abuse or drug addictions among youths.”
He said the command regularly arrests criminals in the state and 90 per cent of the cases, the criminals blame their actions on drugs.
“Drugs and their attendant problems are things that manifest in society. We all know that there is a direct connection between drugs and crime.
“For us in the Lagos State Police Command, we have come to realise that the more there is drug use in the society, the higher the crime rate is.
“If drugs actually reduce in the society, crimes too will reduce. Ordinarily, people would not go and commit crimes until they use drugs,” he said.
He told the youths that beyond crime, drug abuse messes up the future of Nigerian youths and their health.
He said, when musicians have health challenges, most times they will not want to go to hospital but rather invite a nurse to treat them at home because they are using drugs. “Going to the hospital will expose that and they don’t want people to know.”
The PPRO said the media and other stakeholders had a strong role to play in portraying the ills and dangers of drugs in the society.
He said, “It is painful when elderly parents come to beg for their children that were arrested for drugs. “Encouraging drug use will not help anyone. Elderly ones should be our mouthpiece. It is bad that elderly people are making these problems worse. We need to expose this.
“Our borders are quite porous, people bring in things, illicit drugs inclusive. The more we make noise about it the better.”
Hundeyin, who noted that the right policies and tighter borders could also help in addressing the menace, urged young ones not to experiment with drugs in order not to cut their lives short.
He urged the students and young Nigerians not to bow or succumb to peer pressure. You should know what is good and what is bad. “Always stand right even if it means standing alone, in the long run you will be better for it. Drugs are not helping in our society.
“It has made the job of policing more difficult, because more and more youths are going into drugs which translates into cultism, murder, rape and many of them end up in prison. Our young one should stay away.
“Drugs affect crimes, so to help us reduce crimes in the society, we must collectively do all we can to ensure that drug use comes down and we should not glamorise it.”
Oba Saheed Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdom in Lagos State called on parents and communities to collectively tackle the menace of drug abuse among youths in the country.
According to the traditional ruler, who was represented by the Aro of Ikate Kingdom, Chief Olalekan Bakare, “Drug abuse among Nigerian youths today is a pressing concern that demands our immediate attention.
“We can see the devastating effects today that is rippling through families and communities; the futures of these young generations are being affected.
“The police are having to deal with a whole lot of these issues and so, many blames come to them.
“It is time for us as parents, families, and communities to unite and tackle this problem head on.”
He said the easiest way to tackle the menace was through awareness, advocacy, and talking about it. “We have to talk to you, the students; you need to understand that you do not have to fall for any peer pressure; because your friend does drugs, does not mean you have to do drugs.
“Also, that you can sing, and you want to be a star does not mean you have to take drugs for you to be able to sing properly.
“You can sing without taking drugs; be a good athlete without taking drugs; you can be anything in life without taking drugs.
“Parents, once again, a whole lot is in our hands; let us all help these kids for the better of this country, “ Elegushi said.
The Acting Managing Director, NAN, Mr Abdulhadi Khaliel, urged other unions to emulate NUJ NAN chapter in bringing lots of initiatives to enhance the welfare of staff.
“The relationship between management and unions is for the welfare of staff; we are not making any promise, but we want to give the assurance that whatever we can do to improve the welfare of staff, we shall continue to do it,” Khaliel said.
The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) Gen. Buba Marwa, rtd, also advised Nigerians, particularly the youth to desist from taking illicit drugs.
Marwa. who was the guest of honour, stressed that drug abuse had become rampant among the youth and a big problem in the society.
Represented by the NDLEA’s Deputy Director, Mrs. Rita Okpere, Marwa said drug abuse also caused damage to organs of the body.
“Drug abuse is not beneficial in any way, but rather causes severe damage to the body system.
“Substance abuse is common among youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years, and cuts across those who dwell in both the urban and rural areas.”
He said drugs are substances taken other than food and water. Whenever it is taken, it changes the functions of the body. “Drugs can be licit or illicit, licit drugs are not prohibited by law, they are drugs taken when sick.
“But Illicit drugs are the ones that are unlawful and prohibited by law which everyone must abstain from.”
According to him, some youths engage in drug abuse as a result of curiosity, low self-esteem, ignorance, imaginary pressure, relief of anxiety and other reasons.
“Stay away from bad friends, do not allow any friend to lure you into taking drugs, be God-fearing, have your own personality for the sake of Nigeria,” he said.
“This is the time for all to rise up and join the crusade the NDLEA is leading to make our country a better and safer nation, the NDLEA cannot solve the problem alone.
“Community leaders, religious bodies, royal fathers, NGOs and every member of the society must all collaborate and show concern for the welfare of our youths, who are the leaders of tomorrow.
“The Federal Government has done a lot on this issue of drug abuse, they should do more,” he said.
“Addiction to drugs can push one to engage in vices, so as to get money to buy drugs,” he said, adding, “Parents must be observant, ask questions when they see something strange with their children, conduct secret investigations and follow up.”
He, however, made a clarification that the agency did not appoint Afrobeat musician, Afeez Fashola, better known as “Naira Marley”as its ambassador.
“The agency only engaged him and encouraged him to use his skills and platforms to put out content that will discourage millions of his followers and youths from substance abuse,” he