By Emmanuel Onwusoro
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has inaugurated a Substance Abuse Test Exercise for officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS , across the country.
At the virtual event tagged, ‘ The Test Begins with me’,. the Minister reiterated the importance of the test project by the NIS, describing it as very apt and timely, considering the number of youths involved even from the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crimes,UNODC,statistics.
He highlighted that the substance abuse is not just drugs but even alcoholic consumption.
Ogbeni Aregbesola pointed out that alcohol is not mentioned as drug, but it has negative effect in the productivity of its consumers, addding that damages to human system, commission of crimes, HIV/Aids have been associated to the intake of substances of which he advised against.
In his speech, the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, MFR, said within the framework of the statutory duties of the Service, immigration officers are saddled with the duty of bearing arms while playing vital roles in National Security. He remarked that it was against this backdrop and the Service’s avowed desire to establish safeguards against substance abuse while ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all officers and men of the Service that NIS decided to embark on the project.
In a news release by the spokesman of the agency, James Sunday, the CGI added that the aim of the initiative is to prohibit the possession, sale or use of harmful substances that can inhibit the capacity of the user to perform these statutory duties. He said this would check-mate the habit of substance abuse and the effect intake of these substances may have on the role of officers in service delivery to the civil populace.
According to him, the choice of the theme “The Test Begins with Me” is strategic because it is aimed at ensuring every officer and men is tested, owns the process, can relate with it and stays committed to it, stressing that
the exercise is not aimed at witch hunting anybody neither will anyone found positive be subjected to disciplinary procedures.
He explained that it is instead meant to bring to light the negative effects of drug abuse while fashioning out ways to rehabilitate anyone who may test positive. “So if the test begins with me, the healing should also begin with me” he added.
Appreciating the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his unflinching support for the Service, the Chairman/Chief Executive of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), represented by the Secretary, Mr. Shedrach Haruna and the Country Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Mr. Oliver Stolpe, IOM Chief of Mission, Mr Celestine Frantz, for their virtual presence and partnership with the Service, the CGI assured that NIS is committed to ensuring that every single officer of the Service undergoes this process.
To drive the process and to show that the test actually begins with me, the Comptroller General was the first to undergo the test. He announced that henceforth NIS will subject its Cadet Officers and recruits to substance test before they conclude the recruitment process and sent for basic training. “Anyone who tests positive will be dropped” he said, while other officers nationwide will be tested in a continuous process.
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