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NDLEA, SWAN synergise to tackle drug abuse among athletes, fans

By Femi Atolagbe

Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) has partnered the Ondo State chapter of Sports Writers Association Of Nigeria (SWAN) in its bid to rid the state and the country of illicit use of drugs and abuse among athletes and their fans.

Ondo State Commander of NDLEA, Kayode Mumuni Raji, during a courtesy visit to the State Secretariat of SWAN in Akure on Friday, said drugs had cut short so many careers and lives of athletes momentarily or after the span of their careers.

Raji said he would be happy to form a synergy with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, which would help sensitize sport men and women on the dangers of taking psychotropic substances that they believe would enhance their performance but destroy their lives.

The commander, who gave several examples of athletes/footballers that had their careers cut short due to drug related issues, said the move to partner the association would engender development of clean athletes.

He said the command would still visit sports administrators in the state with the message and how the agency could help in curbing the underlying menace of drug abuse in sports.

He said: “We are here on a visit and the essence of coming is actually to initiate something transformative, something revolutionary. It might seem like a child’s play to some people. If we are able to succeed, it will be a model among all other states in the country.”

“Before now we use music generously as music and sports always meet. As time went by, we discovered that it is not only music and sport that meet, sports and drugs also meet and so, that is the very essence of our coming.”

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“We have discovered in all our activities and researches, there is a very close link between sport and drugs and such relationship can be positive or negative, we want to have a positive relationship with sports.”

“SWAN holds a very high stand in the fight against drugs even without you knowing, we know the power of the press, press has its own power and authority and your own did not stop there, you also have the power of sports because sports itself moves the world.”

“Anywhere in the world, whether football, basketball ball, netball, even in some other part of the world cricket. Whatever it is, you encompass all and we have discovered that there is a very serious relationship between drugs and sports,” he said.

Responding, the Chairman of SWAN in the State, Mr Segun Giwa, appreciated the leadership of NDLEA for thinking about how to save the careers and lives of athletes.

Giwa said the association was also thinking about organising an event on drug usage among sports men and women, assuring the commander that a programme would soon be organised towards to educate athletes on the danger of taking drugs .

Giwa said: “We appreciate your visit. This came at a very important time when abuse of drugs is on the rise and we are also planning to have an event that will have athletes and footballers in the state and invite you to help educate and speak at the event.”

“We will still sit together and discuss when we can have the programme within the next few weeks,” he said.

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