…Proposes media regulations against drug abuse content on social media, movies, music videos, etc., Rukayat Shittu said.
The youngest lawmaker in Nigeria and member of Kwara State House of Assembly representing Owode Onire state constituency, Hon. Rukayat Shittu has accused music stars, movie celebrities, skit makers, Big Brother Naija and other influencers of glamourizing drug abuse to mislead teenage minds into a lifestyle they are not equipped live.
The sensational politician has also proposed to different national bodies, including National Broadcasting Corporation, Nigerian Senate, Federal House of Representatives, Nigeria Union of Journalists amongst others, the need to key into the proposed move to regulate social media against the exposure of drug abuse related content.
Hon Rukayat, who is a former senate president at the Congress of NOUN Students (CONS) in her proposal, accused music stars such as Burnaboy, Olamide, Wizkid, Asake, Rema and many others of using their influence to promote and glamorize drug abuse.
She also accused reality show promoter, Big Brother Naija, skit makers, and movie celebrities of deliberate drug abuse promotion in their content, calling for stronger regulations, which maybe criminal in nature against culprits.
Here is the full content below:
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC),
REGULATORY PROPOSAL AGAINST EXPOSURE OF DRUGS PROMOTING CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, MUSIC VIDEOS, SKITS, MOVIES AND OTHER MEDIA CONTENT
The above subject matter refers.
2. I write to seek your input, recommendation, and action on a proposal, seeking to promote regulation against formal or informal drug abuse promoting content on social media, music videos, skits, movies, and other media contents in Nigeria.
3. The proposed regulation against exposure to drug abuse content on media, social media, music videos, movies, and other media contents doesn’t seek to infringe on individual rights to live as they desire, but rather, it seeks to limit exposure to drug abuse related content on media space, especially on social media, music videos, skits and movies.
4. The abuse of drugs and other substances and associated crime have driven a considerable rise in the number of youths imprisoned in recent years. A report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria indicates that 14.4% (14.3 million) of people aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs.
5. This proposal to regulate and criminalize publication and exposure of drug abuse-promoting content on media became necessary due to the increasing use of social media, music videos, skits and movies to consciously or unconsciously influence young people into drugs, and by extension, drug abuse by music stars, celebrities, influencers etc.
6. Drug and substance abuse is prevalent across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. However, the South-West, a zone of serious concern that comprises Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and the Oyo States, is reported to have the highest prevalence of drug and substance use (22.4% or 4,382,000 users)—especially in Lagos and Oyo state—according to a 2018 report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime. Not surprisingly, Lagos and Oyo State are also the headquarters of showbiz, housing the largest portion of music stars, movie celebrities, skit makers and other social media content influencers.
7. For example, on September 3, 2023, Hiptv, an entertainment channel with over 4 million followers on Instagram published a clip of Afrobeats artists, Odumodu and SheyiVibes on their various social media platforms, smoking uncontrollably backstage of the Headies Award in Atlanta, USA.
Similarly, on 14th June 2023, music star, Burnaboy with over 15 million followers on Instagram posted a video of himself and others on his various social media platforms, consuming various kinds of mixed liquor, while praising Fuji King, Saheed Osupa. He had previously promoted similar drug abuse content in his popular track, last last. Also, another Afrobeats star, Wizkid on July 21 and 22 2023 shared a clip on his Instagram social media platform with over 17million followers with an inviting scene of excessive smoking.
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8. Furthermore, YBNL label boss, Olamide in his music video, Jinger displayed excessive smoking scenes. Likewise, the rave of the moment, Asake on June 25th, and August 6th, 2023, displayed on his social media page, with almost 4 million followers, a picture of himself covered with smoke, with a cigar in the hand, depicting an enticing invitation to drug abuse. Earlier, Olamide and Asake had exposed drug abuse scenes in the video of their popular hit track, Amapiano.
9. Other artists, including Portable, Rema, Davido, Kizz Daniel, etc. has made it a culture to display drug-related clips on their various social media platforms and music videos, which makes efforts against drug abuse almost impossible to progress in the manner desired, owing to the fact that most of the young people in the country follow these artists and celebrities on social media and seek to replicate their lifestyles.
Big Brother Naija and other entertainment content producers have also made it a culture to promote drug abuse-related content in their various reality shows and other media content.
10. Although, section 19 of the NDLEA Act prescribes punishment for drug-related offences ranging from 15 to 25 years’ imprisonment. This follows the Indian hemp decree of 1966, which prohibits the cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of Indian hemp.
Also, the Tobacco Smoking Decree of 1990 banned smoking tobacco in public places like schools, offices, public transport, etc. It also ensures and enforces all tobacco advertisements to give a caveat to discourage people of a certain age not to smoking or drinking alcohol.
11. Research shows that, as traditionally conceptualized, the two prongs of drug control policy in Nigeria are supply reduction and demand reduction.
“Supply reduction” is usually understood to be synonymous with enforcement of drug law prohibitions and international interdiction activities, whereas “demand reduction” is usually thought to encompass clinical treatment of drug abuse and addiction as well as the spectrum of activities aiming to prevent youths from using drugs (e.g., media campaigns, school-based education programs).
12. This conceptualization is said to be imperfect for two reasons. First, a large component of drug law enforcement focuses directly on reducing demand (e.g., apprehending and punishing users for possessing drugs). Secondly, the standard menu of demand-reduction activities tends to overlook (or take as given) the rich fabric of deeply ingrained social controls against illicit drug use, including legal controls.
13. In people’s daily lives, almost all of their behavior is shaped, channeled, and controlled by the expectations and norms embedded in their relationships with their families, friends, teachers, employers, and various social groups and organizations, and these norms and expectations vary substantially over the life course. Informal social controls may discourage drug use or, conversely, may encourage and reinforce it, depending on the social and developmental context. However, in a world where media and by extension, social media largely influence behavior, especially of young people and music stars, movie celebrities, skit makers and other influencers are the driving force, continuous exposure to drug abuse-related lifestyle and content largely drives demand, leaving the space unregulated ultimately leads to conflicting message about drug abuse.
14. It is on this basis, that I propose the introduction of regulations, not only to ban the display of drug abuse-promoting content on social media, music videos, movies, skit, reality shows and others, but to also prescribe punishment, which may be criminal in nature to create deterrence.
15. It should be noted that individuals could live their lives as they deem fit in their private capacity, but giving media exposure to drug abuse related content, which directly undermines government efforts to eradicate or reduce drug abuse to its bearest minimal should be seen as a grave offense to the nation.
Hon. Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu
Member representing Owode Onire state constituency
Chairman, House Committee Chairman on Youths Development, Kwara State House of Assembly.
1. Senate President, National Assembly
2. Speaker, Federal House of Representatives
3. Director General, National Orientation Agency
4. Nigeria Union of Journalists
7. National Communication Commission
8. Federal Ministry of Information and Culture