Ọgbẹni Rauf Aregbesola today 16th July 2020, flagged a Substance Abuse Test Exercise with the motto ‘The Test Begins With Me’, at the Headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. The exercise which will be carried out in all the Commands of NIS as well as its headquarters, is aimed to ensure the best emotional and behavioural altitude for all the personnel of the Service, especially as the NIS is a firearm bearing organisation. It is also necessary to serve as an exemplary exercise that can be adopted by other arm bearing Services under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior.
“Permit me to appreciate the support of President Muhammadu Buhari for the immense support he has continued to extend towards the implementation of the several laudable programmes of the Nigeria Immigration Service and by extension, the Ministry of Interior,” the Minister spoke during the virtual flagoff.
“The dynamic nature of Immigration Officers’s job is unique because it imposes on them a dual mandate. While you should do your duty as security organization on top of its game at all times, you must also be very receptive and accommodating to civilians who daily throng your offices for one reason or the other.
“There should be zero tolerance for any act that will and can suggest the use of prohibited substances. This drug test is important because NIS is an arm-bearing agency of govt. Therefore, there should be zero drug abuse in their midst.” He explained.
He advised every other firearm bearing Service to emulate the exercise: “All other arms-bearing services in the country are advised to subject their personel to this routine test. One major consequence of drug abuse is diminished responsibility and it significantly contribute to wrongful use of firearms by law enforcement agents.”
The former governor of the State of Osun concluded by saying that whoever is found to abuse substances should be excluded from any responsibility involving bearing of arms or interacting with the public. “Anyone with diminished responsibility should not handle arms or be in a position to interface with the public in whatever form. It is highly risky and dangerous. It is absolutely necessary for law enforcement officers to be demonstrably sober, responsible, proper and fit.”
The Nigerian masses have had a running battle with officials behaving indiscriminately and misusing the arms entrusted to them. There have been a substantial number of death caused by overzealous attitude of police and Service personnel, or cases of misuse of arms under the influence of alcohol or drugs or substances. Most apparent are the Special Anti Robbery Squads popularly called SARS. With such pioneering move under the new democratic dispensation, there is hope that it will be adopted by the Nigeria Police and the various Services.