The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has clarified its decision to engage controversial artiste Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, in its drug abuse advocacy campaign.
According to Femi Babafemi, the agency’s spokesperson, the intentional enlistment of Naira Marley aims to address the issue of drug abuse among youths.
The move came amid criticisms due to Naira Marley’s previous associations with glorifying drug abuse, sparking discussions on the effectiveness of this advocacy strategy.
In an interview with Saturday Beats, Babafemi said, “It is an advocacy engagement with him.
It is what we do as part of the responsibilities of the agency to promote advocacy messages that would discourage people from substance abuse. It is about 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 noted that using Marley as an advocate did not mean that the agency won’t arrest him if he was 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 added that critics should consider the message and not focus on the messenger.