The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said its proposed conduct of drug test for intending couples is not only for ladies.
The clarification was made in a statement issued by Jonah Achema, NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, in reaction to comments by Nigerians over the proposal.
Mohammed Mustapha Abdalla, NDLEA Chairman, was quoted to have said in August that the agency was considering conducting drug test for single ladies.
According to Abdalla, this is due to the increase in the rate of drug addiction among girls and married women across the country.
But following the backlash that elicited over the suggestion, the NDLEA said its Chairman was quoted out of context.
It explained that the agency did not single out ladies for the drug integrity test, but intended it for the couple.
“For the avoidance of doubt, what the chairman said was that as an extension of drug integrity test policy in public service, NDLEA is also considering partnering with the religious leaders,” Achema said.
“This consideration is to make drug test a prerequisite for marriage in churches and mosques as in the case of HIV/AIDs and Genotype tests.
“It, therefore, smacks of cheap chauvinism of one to manipulate statement meant for intending couples to mean ladies, as if ladies is a generic term for the marriage institution or intending couple.
“Making it a women affair is trivialising the issue and trying to engender discrimination, which is far from the intention of the gender friendly NDLEA.”
The NDLEA explained that targeting the family for effective drug control was not debatable, as most drug problems complicate the family institution, leading to broken homes and poor parenting.
It added that it was the dutiful thinking of NDLEA to involve religious organisations to engage intending couples to ascertain their drug use status.