NDLEA takes war against drugs to varsities

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

THE Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), the World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri and the founding Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD), and the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, Otive Igbuzor, are among others expected at the Institute of Development Communication (ISDEVCOM), Nasarawa State University, Keffi, two-day international conference.

The theme of the conference is, ‘Strategic Security and Health Communication for Sustainable Development.’

Recall that the NDLEA boss, Gen. Marwa, had during a courtesy call in September, by the Vice-Chancellor of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, disclosed plans to take the war on drugs to Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

He explained that it was part of the agency’s bid to bring an end to the incessant abuse of hard drugs and narcotic substances in Nigerian Universities.

According to the Executive Director of the Institute and convener of the Conference, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, the event scheduled for October 28 to 29, 2021, at the university campus, is aimed at promoting sustainable development, especially in developing countries like Nigeria and in Africa.

He explained that this has become both imperative and urgent in view of the poor milestones so far recorded in the march towards attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

A statement signed by, Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Uzoma Onyegbadue, stated that the ISDEVCOM Executive Director, said that the event which is the third edition, is aimed at reflecting on ways in which development communication can be strategically employed in various spheres of national life to catalyse sustainable national development by engaging stakeholders and policy makers while promoting information exchange to create positive social change.

READ ALSO: Drugs War: Why cannabis cannot be legalised in Nigeria now – Marwa

He noted that, while the fundamental role of communication in propelling the drive towards sustainable national development is, without doubt, grossly under-explored in Africa, development communication is however, vital in providing a guide for people to have a full understanding of their own needs, their current situation, and their options for change.

According to Dandaura, “Special focus will be given to participation of government agencies and non-governmental organisations involved in youth mental health, drug abuse and control, maternal and child health, education, family planning, anti-malaria as well as advocacy and intervention for HIV and AIDS, Covid-19.”

To deliberate on these issues, he said, the conference is bringing together diverse resource from the academia, professionals and practitioners of development communication, policy makers, non-governmental and other civil society organisations, key government institutions and the media, to share knowledge on a wide range of sub-themes.

Dandaura, further explained that ISDEVCOM is credited with championing curriculum development in Science Communication in Africa, partnering with Sci-Dev of London under funding support by Robert Bosch Stiftung of Germany.

ISDEVCOM popularised Science Communication in Nigerian universities nationally and also mentored the Makarere University of Uganda as well as other institutions, internationally.

Sub-themes for the conference include ‘Drug abuse and behaviour change communication in Nigeria;’ ‘Strategic Communication as a non-kinetic approach to internal security management,’ and ‘COVID-19 and the new lessons in development communication,’ among others.

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