The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA) has taken its collaboration with the movie industry a notch higher with the screening of two films to commemorate the United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking 2022.
First Lady of Nigeria, Hajiya Aisha Buhari led a long list of dignitaries to the glamourous event held at Silverbird Cinema Abuja on Friday. Mrs. Buhari was represented at the screening by her Senior Special Assistant, Rukayat Goni.
Welcoming guests to the premier of the films, ‘Trap’ produced by stylish Nollywood actress, Jumoke Odetola and ‘High Is The New Death’, produced by a staff of the agency, Sule Momodu, NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd) said there were important lessons to be learnt from both movies.
‘High Is The New Death which features handsome actor and Instagram skit maker, Alvin Abayomi alongside the late Sam Obiago and Ruth Arum is based on the true life story of an undergraduate who got hooked on drugs while on campus. Alvin Abayomi gave a good account of himself portraying, Malife, the impressionable student who eventually died of a drug overdose, despite the support of his family and genuine efforts by his parents to get him rehabilitated.
‘Trap’ the second offer for the evening was as impressive and educative as the first movie screened. The short film starring talented musician, Olugbemiro Tokunbo, better known as GT Da Guitarman and Nollywood heartthrob, Jimmy Odukoya, showcases the struggle of youths and celebrities which has led to some of them seeking succor in hard drugs. The movie which opens with a scene reminiscent of Alcoholic Anonymous sessions has parents discussing reasons their kids got addicted to banned substances.
Speaking to the media after the screening, Marwa, explained that NDLEA’s decision to celebrate the UN Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking with movies for a second year in a row. He said with millions of young people watching Nigerian movies even as they admire star actors, they will be easily sensitized on the dangers of drug abuse through didactic stories.
Speaking on teachings from the movies premiered, the NDLEA boss said parents must watch out for changes in their children. He also expressed hope that the films which showcase the negative impact of the use of banned substances will see young people not picking up the drug habit in the first place. He equally announced that the NDLEA now has helplines through which parents and people battling with addiction can seek help as well as the right information.
“We have collaborated with the movie industry because Nollywood and Kannywood actors are role models, our youths watch out for them and copy what they do. We thought to encourage actors to come up with stories that will impact positively on youths. We thought it wise to encourage actors and artists to be of the best behavior, but for those who cross the line we don’t spare them. We don’t spare anybody, but we are happy to collaborate with those who are a good example”, Marwa said.
Also speaking with the media on the red carpet, Jumoke Odetola revealed reasons for her producing, ‘Trap’, saying, “I feel obliged to produce a film like this because as a celebrity, I have a lot of young people who look up to me. I also needed to tell the story of young people and the challenges they face because it is not everyone who has a voice”.
On his part, the producer of ‘High Is The New Death’, Sule Momodu, celebrated Marwa for making his movie see the light of day.
“When I was asked to make a few remarks before the screening, I just thanked the chairman of the agency for making today’s screening possible. If you look at the year the film was produced (2019) and the year it is being screened, year 2022, you will appreciate why I thanked him. It is good to have a leader who understand what it takes to solve society’s problems”, Momodu said.
See more pictures from the event: