By Maimuna sey-jawo
The director general of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency The Gambia [DLEAG] Alhaji Bakary Gassama has called on journalists to join the bandwagon in the crusade against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
He made this observation Tuesday while presiding over the official opening of a one-day sensitisation workshop for journalists on the effects of drug abuse and the official launch of journalists against illicit drug trafficking and abuse [JAIDTOR], at a ceremony held at Tango conference hall.
DG Gassama went on to say his office is delighted to partner with journalists in organising the sensitisation.
He recalled that DLEAG is the lead government security institution tasked with the responsibility of regulating the use and possession of controlled drugs and precursors and connected matters.
According to Gassama in fulfilling this task, the agency has over the years registered significant success in dismantling local and international criminal networks and syndicates. He noted that the 2010 seizure of over two tonnes of cocaine with a net value of over a billion dollar is a significant case as an example and a turning point in the crusade against drugs in the Gambia.
”I call on you journalists to join the bandwagon because the media can influence audiences by setting the agenda and defining public interest framing issues through selection and resilience; indirectly shaping individual and community attitudes towards risk; and feeding into political debate and decision making,” he stated.
Gassama further said law enforcement officers are usually obstructed in the due execution of their duties by people ignorant about the law. He said some feel that it is their right to openly abuse drug or act in contravention of the laws of this land.
On his part Momodou Kanteh the chairman of journalists against Illicit drug trafficking and abuse [JAIDTOR], said his group was formed as a result of a training he attended in Abuja, Nigeria last year organized by Ecowas for media representative and youth led organizations from member countries.
He said the training was focused on the participation of the media and youth organizations in the fight against illicit drugs trafficking in the sub region and during this training representatives were encourage to form networks in their respective countries.