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Companion harps on menace of drug abuse, warn youths

By Shakirah Adunola
29 October 2021   |   4:05 am
Despite existing drug laws, policies, and strategies for prevention of drug abuse, the burden of drug abuse is still high in Nigeria.

Head, Department of Religious and Peace Studies, Lagos State University, (LASU), Dr. Mustapha Adebayo Bello (left); The Companion, Lagos District Amir, Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Abdul Majeed; National Vice President, The Companion, Imam Nojeem Jimoh, The National Amir, The Companion, Engr, Kamil Olalekan during The Companion Lagos District’s Non Elective Conference and Public Lecture in Lagos.

Despite existing drug laws, policies, and strategies for prevention of drug abuse, the burden of drug abuse is still high in Nigeria.

According to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), 40 percent of Nigerian youths between 18 and 35 years are deeply involved in the abuse of drugs.

To tackle the menace of drug abuse, The Companion, an association of Muslim men in business and the professions, sensitized the general public on the danger of drug abuse, which is a major threat to national development, family stability and social security.

The association calls on parents, schools, NGOs and government agencies at all levels to be more involved in the monitoring of youths against further spread of drug abuse.

Speaking during The Companion, Lagos District’s Non Elective Conference, Public Lecture, the Amir of the district, Abdul Ghaniyu Abdul Majeed, said, the theme of the conference ‘Curbing the Menace of Drug Abuse in Nigeria’ is borne out of the increasing youth involvement in substance use and abuse.

“As a faith based organisation involved, in youth and leadership development with a youth wing called ‘The Dawn’, as well as dwelling in a country which has a large population of youth, we find this scourge among the youth a matter of concern. There is a nexus between drug abuse, violence, crime and insecurity. These are implications and consequences of drug abuse on the youth, as it is connected with so many negative impacts such as insanity, social misfit, school dropout and various forms of medical disorder which usually render the drug addict unproductive and unfit for any meaningful endeavor.”

He noted that the youth are supposed to be the major agents of change and development but some of them have been destroyed by drug addiction and this poses a big threat to the future of the country.

“Apart from consumption, a lot of youth are also involved in drug trafficking which has given Nigeria a terrible negative image in the comity of nations. Perhaps much more worrisome is the abuse of what hitherto was common, over the counter (OTC) drugs like codeine and tramadol which have suddenly become cheaper and readily available alternative to widely known and common hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and cannabis.”

He said that there is need to urgently curb the menace of drug abuse in the country and governments should create more rehabilitation centres for the treatment and rehabilitation of existing addicts with a view to reintegrating them to become useful members of the society. “The evils and negative implications associated with drug abuse should also be taught in schools and other gatherings of the youth, he said”

Staff Officer, Drug Demand Reduction, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lagos State Command, Usman Umar, said that the rate at which youths were becoming addicted to illicit drugs is alarming and the agency is ensuring the menace is put under control, which has necessitated that all hands must be on deck to curtail the challenge.

He urged all relevant stakeholders to rise up and join the crusade the NDLEA is leading, to make Nigeria a better and safer nation.

“The agency is presently undertaking a lot of sensitisation on drug abuse, the public should also endeavour to give information, intelligence to the relevant authority.”

The guest speaker, Head, Department of Religious and Peace Studies, Lagos State University, (LASU), Dr. Mustapha Adebayo Bello, while delivering his paper on ‘Drug Abuse: Major Catalyst for Criminality and Insecurity in the country’, noted that drug addiction is a global problem and the drug war should be a source of concern to all Nigerians. “No family in Nigeria is immune to the effects of drug abuse. It is right in front of us. The menace has obliterated a significant portion of our youth’s potentials.

“Many people’s lives have been destroyed by hard drugs, which have shattered families and wreaked havoc on society. It’s hard to overstate the connection between drug abuse and criminal behaviour. Boko Haram, Pirates, kidnappers, armed robbers, bandits and other criminal masterminds use hard drugs to carry out their murderous actions against Nigeria’s law-abiding people.”

He urged Muslims not to do anything to endanger their lives as the consumption of hard drugs have been adjudged medically as the passport to short life.