Nigerians have been urged to stop stigmatisation, and discrimination of drug addicts, they were advised to rather prevent people from abusing drugs.
This was the submission of the Deputy Commander in-charge of Drug Demand Reduction in the Lagos State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mrs. Chinyerem Eziaghighala.
Eziaghighala stated this in her address, while representing the State Commander of the Agency, Umar Isa Adoro on Wednesday July 12 during a day seminar organized by the Coalition of Nigerian Youths On Security & Safety Affairs (CONYSSA) Titled: “Drug Abuse And Illicit Substance Reduction; Role of Youth Organizations in Lagos.”
According to Eziaghighala, we should strengthen prevention so that the youths would intentionally fight the menace, while decrying rise of drug abuse among young people.
She further said that “Drug abuse or taking illicit substances are preventable and treatable for victims. If we all are ready to tackle it, we can achieve it.”
Also speaking at the event, Brig. Gen Lonsdale Adeoye (retd) said that the programme was timely and very crucial at this point in time, saying that taking some drugs is not really bad, but that it becomes bad when it’s abused.
The retired military officer described Nigerian youths as being full of great potentials.
“Thee are lots of jobs to do with the current administration because every sector of the economy is being opened up, and investors are coming in.
“We have to be careful because when investors come, who are they going to use if the youths are not there, who do we beckon on to take these jobs? It’s imperative that youths should stay off drug abuse and be determined to make it. So, if any youth indulges in drug abuse, there are technologies to fish him or her out now.
“Take for instance, as I am here with you, I only need to push one button, if anyone of you has any drug in him or her, it will detect it. We must not allow drugs to destroy our youths.
“If we say the youths would build the nation, how would they build the nation when they are on drugs. If they had escaped it before, there is no more escape route,” he said.
Also sharing her thoughts about the topic, the founder of Lagos Island Connect, Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti said that it should be a holistic package where all hands must be on deck including those in government agencies, and the private sector to fight drug abuse.
“Individuals cannot not tackle it alone, it needs the activities of the private sector, and various organizations who are kept alive by the activities of young people.
“Sometimes, their activities are affected by these drug addicts because the organizations have neglected their responsibilities,” she said.
Ms Kuti noted that communities must come together as it was obtainable in those days, and that churches, mosque, and various groups within the communities also have to come together to tackle the problem.
The State Coordinator of CONYSSA, Ambassador Akanbi Micheal said that the programme was organised to sensitize the community, and to equip the youths with adequate information to tackle and raise a war against the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria.
“CONYSSA Lagos State chapter, strictly organised the event to follow suit with the national body in partnership with NDLEA. It was launched few years ago, and it was called ” WADA Project ” meaning WAR Against Drug Abuse.
He appealed to the government, to partner with well structured organisations, and take away the youths who are involved in drugs from the streets by organising sporting activities, and make them feel important so that they can focus on their field of career.
One of the highpoints of the event was, when six-year-old Empress spoke on the issue.
Empress noted that young people should stop using drugs to enhance performance, saying that hard drugs have negative effects on human beings.
The six year old further said that there are many drugs that can stop mental illness and that it could equally improve one’s health if not abused, and that it is only dangerous and could cause health issue if abused.
She therefore encouraged young people to desist from getting addicted to drugs.