The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said it is keeping tabs on more celebrities in Nollywood and the music industry for drug trafficking, abuse and links with drug cartels.
The agency said the move became necessary, following its investigation into the activities of controversial actress and singer, Tonto Dikeh, for possible consumption of hard drugs.
Dikeh had on June 28, 2013, posted photographs of a wrap of hemp and grains of the weed formed into the letters, ‘Happy birthday POKO.’
She also posted a photograph of herself with the inscription, ‘Mi smoke ganja mi smoke weed while my haterz smoke ma gossip.’
In an interview with our correspondent on Friday, the Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, saidthat Nollywood stars had been prosecuted for drug-related offences.
He said, “We are beaming our searchlight on more celebrities with regard to drug trafficking and abuse.
“The arrest and conviction of Nollywood stars, Hassanat Akinwande, popularly known as Wunmi, and Tochi Uche have clearly shown that some members in the sector are vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation by drug cartels.
“We have a responsibility to investigate and identify anyone involved in drug trafficking and use. We are deeply concerned, when such personalities are linked with drugs because of their large number of fans.”
Ofoyeju said the implication of having celebrities dealing in hard drugs was that their fans might like to act like their role models.
He added that the improper conduct of a celebrity might have “ripple effects” on their followers.
“This will not be treated with kid gloves. It is counterproductive to the country’s drug abuse prevention campaign. Any breach of the NDLEA Act will not be condoned,” he stated.
The NDLEA spokesman said sniffer dogs had been instrumental to major drug seizures in the country.
“The heroin hidden inside woollen rug carpets imported from Pakistan was detected by the sniffer dogs. The dogs help to detect drugs that ordinarily are difficult to uncover, using normal search techniques,” he said.
He further said the agency had not recorded any drug seizure on private jets, adding, “We are taking measures to ensure that drug trafficking cartels do not use such jets.”
NDLEA, which said it would investigate Dikeh, had hinted that the actress and singer risked a minimum of 15 years in jail for allegedly encouraging the consumption of hemp.
She, however, denied using the weed, saying the photos were ‘photoshopped.’