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Nigeria’s drug agency denies appointing singer Naira Marley as ambassador

IN SHORT: Singer and songwriter Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, only visited the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s offices. The agency has denied claims that it appointed him as its ambassador.

Azeez Fashola has been appointed an ambassador for Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), according to a message circulating on Facebook since 17 August 2023.

Fashola, known professionally as Naira Marley, is a singer and songwriter. His songs include Issa Goal (2017), Opotoyi (Marlians) (2019) and Koleyewon (2020).

The NDLEA is responsible for drug policy in Nigeria.

On 17 August, Fashola visited the agency’s headquarters to show his support for its anti-drugs campaign.

Fashola has at times courted controversy while some of his aides have been arrested by the NDLEA for possession of illegal drugs. He has been filmed smoking what may be marijuana in his videos.

In May 2019, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also arrested Fashola and four others for alleged internet fraud. 

One Facebook post reads: “Niger my country. Una cruize no too much? Yesterday Popular Nigeria artist by name Naira Marley was appointed the new Ambassador of NDLEA.Congratulations to u boss.”

The message has been shared on Facebook here, here, here, here and here.

NDLEAAmbassador_False

Drugs agency debunks claim

On 19 August 2023, the NDLEA took to X (formerly Twitter) to deny the claim.

In a statement signed by its director for media and advocacy, Femi Babafemi, the agency said its engagement with Fashola was to use his influence on social media to discourage his followers and young people in Nigeria from substance abuse.

“This is misleading and absolute falsehood as the pictures of the visit and the short video containing Naira Marley’s advocacy message to his followers were properly captioned and shared by the Agency without any suggestion of such appointment."

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