The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is partnering with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on the rehabilitation of its officers and men who might test positive to drug integrity tests.
Speaking at the inauguration of the substance abuse test exercise for officers and men of the service on Thursday in Abuja, the Comptroller General of NIS, Mr. Muhammad Babandede said that the test would begin with him.
Babandede said that the choice of the theme, “the test begins with me” was strategic towards the participation of every officer in the testing and remaining committed to the idea.
He said that the exercise was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody neither would anyone found positive be subjected to disciplinary procedures.
The Comptroller General said that it was to bring to light the negative effect 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.
“We are hoping to partner with NDLEA especially in terms of rehabilitation for anyone who may test positive to the use of some of these substances.
“We will also be requesting that you help build the capacity of a pre-select team of officers and men who will be carrying out the duty of sensitization and enlightenment as we progress with this exercise.
“We are committed to ensuring that every single personnel of the service undergoes this process because we intend to achieve a substance abuse free service for our officers, men, and indeed their families,” he said.
Babandede said that Immigration officers were saddled with the duty of bearing arms while playing vital roles in National Security within the framework of statutory duties of service.
“The aim of this 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.
“Albeit, the service may have recorded cases of indiscipline resulting from substance abuse, we decided to be proactive by introducing this exercise.
“This is in order to checkmate the habit of substance abuse and the effect of intake of these substances may have on our role of service delivery to the civil populace,” he said.
Responding, Chairman, NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (Rtd) said that the agency would collaborate with not just NIS but any agency particularly, Federal Civil Service and all the other services in need of such a test.
Abdallah, who was represented by the Secretary, NDLEA, Mr. Shedrach Haruna, noted that what was starting with the immigration would extend to other agencies and all services which bear arms in the country.
“This is a way to bring about the issue of a free society. A society that is free from drugs and this is starting with the service of the Federation and all other civil services.
“We are also working to collaborate with states to ensure that all the arm bearing agencies undergo this drug integrity test.
“This is part of NDLEA’s work. We are mandated to coordinate preventive measures against drugs knowing that drug use in the country has increased.
“We have developed a procedure to ensure we curb the process and stem the trend of substance abuse in the country,” he said.