Dealing with social issues plaguing our youths – Part 1
Every generation has a responsibility to mentor the next generation to ensure that they are not carried away by deception and wrong social vices. The future of our youths, who are the next generation, are being threatened by many social vices, such as drug addiction, Internet fraud, pool betting, examination malpractices, pornography, unbridled craving for materialism, kidnapping, banditry, unemployment and occultic practices, to mention a few. And unless we act now to save our youths, they will be derailed completely by the overwhelming societal problems they face.
According to Wikipedia, “Most of the population in Nigeria comprises young people, with 42.54 per cent between the ages of 0–14.” Another statistics states that, “more than 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population is under 25.” Any problems that affect 60 per cent of the population of any country would invariably have severe consequences on that society’s future. This seems to be the case with Nigeria now. In some advanced societies, programmes are intentionally put in place to guide the youths towards more productive ventures. Unfortunately, that is not the case with our nation. There are no adequate plans to mentor and guide our youths. Worse still, there are not enough jobs for them.
Take the issue of drug addiction as an example. Only two years ago, the pharmaceutical companies were banned from producing tramadol because of its addictive effects on many youths, especially those from the Northern states. Now, the trending drug addiction is among youths in the Eastern part of Nigeria. Many of them are addicted to the deadly substance called Mkpuru Mmiri (Methamphetamine or Crystal Meth). Recently, I went to my village in Abia State and discovered that many youths are victims of drugs addiction. About the same time, my personal assistant visited his village and complained of the same effect of drugs on the youths in his village in Uturu, Abia State.
According to the Saturday Guardian report of November 20, 2021, “There are worries about the rate of consumption of hard drugs by young men and women, especially in the Southeast. The worries are further heightened by the rate at which mentally deranged able-bodied young men and women now roam the streets. Most discussions in public places in the region now centre on how youths consume Mkpuru Mmiri in particular. The region has also started recording an increase in all kinds of crime. Stories of people breaking into private apartments to look for money or missing pots of soup, including the ones on fire, are now common.”
The problems our youths face are multifaceted and addressing them must be drastic and comprehensive. Their sorry plight is a challenge not only to the government but the Church as well. The malaise they are in seems to be a complete reversal of all the gains of the revival of the 1970s and 1980s, which occurred mainly among the youths. Their condition offers good grounds to cry out to God for another spiritual revival amongst them. No generation can afford to ignore the plight of her youths.
No responsible nation would sit and watch the destiny of her youth destroyed without taking any drastic action to address the situation. The government, Churches and NGOs must all work together to find a lasting solution. Collectively, they should set up counselling and rehabilitation centres to help wean our youths from hard drugs. Parents must rise and make efforts to retake the lives of their children. The Church must cry out in prayer for the lives of the youths.