The Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has flagged off substance abuse test exercise for Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) officers and men across the country in a virtual conference tagged “The Test Begins with me.”
The Honorable Minister reiterated the importance of the test project flagged off by the NIS as very apt and timely, considering the number of youths involved even from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) statistics.
Disclosing that substance abuse is not just drugs but even alcoholic consumption. Though alcohol is not mentioned as drug, it has negative effect in the productivity of its consumers.
The Minister observed 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 of 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 said 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 this project
The CGI added that the aim of the exercise 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 checkmate the habit of substance abuse and the effect intake of these substances may have on their role of service delivery to the civil populace.
He disclosed that the choice of the theme “The Test Begins with Me” is strategic because it is aimed at ensuring every officer and men to be tested, owns the process, can relate with it and stays committed to it.
Babandede further stated 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.
While 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), ably 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 undergo 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 while announcing 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.
Photo: Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede.
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