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Terrorists, kidnappers, bandits propelled by hard drugs – Marwa

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.Urges Nigerians to support NDLEA’s war against scourge

.UBA customers remain our backbone, says Alawuba

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Ibrahim Qadri

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has urged Nigerians to support the agency in its current war against drug abuse and trafficking, saying drug has become a propellant to terrorists, kidnappers and bandits in the country.


Marwa made the call on Saturday May 25 while speaking as the Chairman of the Annual Champion Newspapers’ Awards at the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

No fewer than 43 eminent Nigerians from all walks of life, institutions and distinguished guests converged for the Awards where some reputable citizens and institutions were honoured for their immense contributions to the socio-political and economic developments of the country.


Marwa presided over the well attended event while the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi was honoured with Most Impactful Politician of the Fourth Republic.


The Governor of the Year on Infrastructure and Rural Development was received by the Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim.


The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno who was represented by the State Commissioner for Transport, Orman Ehin got Face of Democracy Award.


Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, who was represented by his Deputy, Umar Usman Kadafur and got Visionary Leader/Pillar of Democracy Award while the Governor of the Year on Security and Infrastructure went to Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah.

The Group Managing Director of UBA Plc, Mr Oliver Alawuba got the Man of the Year Award, Banker of the Year was received by Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu while Fidelity Bank Plc received Bank of the Year Award.


The Most Outstanding Energy Icon of the Year went to the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kyari.


Other individuals that received the 2023 Champion Newspapers’ Awards are: High Chief Kenneth Ifekudu, as Philanthropist of the Year; Mr Rasheed Bolarinwa of Polaris Bank Ltd, the Media Manager of the Year; Senator Osita Izunaso is the Senator of the Year and Hon. Noheem Babatunde Adams is the Most Outstanding State House of Assembly Member of the Year Awardee.


Also honoured are: Hon. (Dr) Abike Dabiri Erewa; High Chief Dr. Christopher Ndubuisi; Mr Eddie Efekoha; Rear Admiral Dr. Kasimu Bushi; Mr Blessing Agofure; Mrs Bina Jennifer Efidi Seifegha; Mrs Dr. Aisha Sulaiman Achimugu; Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc; Chief Chekwas Okorie ( Ojeozi Ndigbo); and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc (a giant construction company).


Others include, Engr Gbenga Komokafe; Mr Mohammed Bello Koko; Mrs Uju Catherine Ifejika; Lady Ada Chukwudozie; Barr. Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma; Chief (Dr.) Michael Onuoha; and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd.p

Awards were also given to His Royal Majesty Walford Ikem; Dr. Victor Ide Okoye among others.


Speaking at the occasion, Marwa said, “I am indeed very honoured and delighted to be in this gathering of eminent men and women at one of the best annual award ceremonies in Nigeria, the Champion Annual Award.


“This will be my third attendance in as many years of this memorable occasion. The last two years, 2022, 2023 where I attended, I was fortunate to be ‘Man of the Year’ for those two years. And today I am here in different capacity and I thank Champion Newspapers for the honour. The Champion Newspapers we know very well is an excellent house, very credible media and has been in existence for over three decades.”


He added, “These awards don’t come easy, the process is very very meticulous and I know all the awardees deserved those awards, fair and square.”

While appreciating the awardees, the former military administrator of Lagos and Borno States noted, “The purpose of the awards such as this is to encourage the recipients to do even more in their areas of calling and also to let Nigerians and the world to know if you work hard enough, there is a reward for it.”


The Chairman used the opportunity to call on parents and every Nigerian to support the agency in its war against abuse of drugs, noting the right examples must be set for children.


“Each and everyone of you here knows we are in a dire strait as far as drugs use is concerned- there is a drugs scourge. We know for a fact that drugs have continued to destroy our youth, our families, our communities and on top of that,  it is a propellant to terrorists, kidnappers, bandits all over the place. I would like to urge us all to support the war against drugs.


“80-90 percent of us here are parents, and as parents, we have responsibilities for our children, to bring our children up properly and to lay the correct examples. Any parent who loves drug and send the children to buy, already is laying his carpet for the child to follow his footstep where the child tries what Papa or Mama is sending him to buy.


“We must begin by setting the right examples and we must pay much attention to our children like the old times. These days, parents are even afraid to go to bed in the night until children have returned homes and slept off because they are afraid if they sleep before the children and the children come back they may slaughter them- this has happened.”


He therefore appealed to parents to pay more attention to their children, saying “We must all say no to drug in our country. We need to recover Nigeria from the drugs scourge.”

He advised Nigerians to make use of the NDLEA help line (080010203040) where there are responders who guide callers in English, Pidgin, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa.

He added that the Agency has psychotherapists, psychologists, counselors and experts who are on standby 24/7 and are ready to provide guidance.


UBA customers remain our backbone, says Alawuba


The Group Managing Director of UBA Plc, Mr Oliver Alawuba has lauded the bank’s customers in 24 countries where it operates, saying the customers provided the backbone for its success story.

Alawuba gave the applause on Saturday while speaking at the Annual Champion Newspapers’ Awards (2023), Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Man of the Year Award which he dedicated to the bank’s customers in 24 countries was presented to him by the NDLEA Chairman, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd).

In his response , Alawuba thanked the management of Champion Newspapers for the award.

He said, “I’m indeed humbled, UBA, this is your award. I would like to thank the chairman of the Board, Mr Tony Elumelu and all the Board members. I would like to thank my colleagues and the management. I would like to thank all the staff of UBA.

“It is you that gave me the platform to have award. I would like to dedicate this award to the customers of UBA in all the 24 countries that we have presence and finally my family.

“I would like to thank my wife for always being there in good times and bad times, very steadfast.”

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Group Managing Director of the Champion Newspapers Limited, Dr (Mrs) Nwadiuto Iheakanwa said the annual awards was a way of recognizing excellence.

She noted, “For Nigeria to get better and bigger we will need more of the calibre of people and institutions who we set out to honour this evening because they constitute an integral part of the best. Our new challenge and thinking should be on how to make Nigeria more functional, more prosperous and more respected in the international community.”

She therefore tasked the political class and state actors to learn to come down from their high horses and stoop lower with the intent to conquer the current battle that has to do with alleviating poverty.

“Leaders should be more sensitive, leaders must think more of the people than election cycles. More attention should be focused on revamping the economy, secure environment and the rule of law. A nation without strict adherence to the rule of law is nothing short of a jungle and Nigeria should never be allowed to be classified as one,” Iheakanwa stated.


As Onyeagwu commends wife, customers, Jim Ovia


Getting to the level where I am now, is not about roses and sunshine, it comes with a lot of challenges, downsides. I want to particularly thank my biggest chair leader, especially my wife who is here and my children. They give me the energy whenever I am low and things are not going too well, I get encouragement from them.


Above all, I must also recognize and appreciate my parents for the upbringing, especially my late father who inculcated discipline, hard work and focus in me from a tender age, and my mum for the mentorship. And also my mentors and counsellor, Our founder and chairman, Mr. Jim ovie for the mentorship that has made to become who I am, and above all, our customers, without them, we have no service to provide. For our customers, this award is also for you


And Champion Newspapers, we thank you for instituting this award, it helps to encourage excellence and the spirit of enterprise in our entire economy

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