Buhari committed to tackling drug abuse amongst Nigerian youths – Lai Mohammed

By Gabriel Elozino

President Muhammadu Buhari has reinstated his commitment to tackling the rising menace of drug abuse prevalent amongst Nigerian youths, saying his government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that it wins the war against the menace in the country.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Muhammed disclosed this in Asaba, Delta state, during the opening ceremony of a two-day Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), yesterday.

According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari was fully aware of the high prevalence of drug abuse, especially among Nigerian youths and urgent measures have been taken to address the menace.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Director, International Cultural Relations, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Memunat Idu-lah, commended the Executive Secretary and Management of NICO for initiating the Roundtable and for keeping faith with its diligent implementation over the years, adding that the focus of this year’s edition with theme, “Culture, Drug Abuse and the Future of the Nigerian Youth”, brings to the fore several critical issues which should be taken seriously at all levels.

He appealed to relevant stakeholders such as parents, religious bodies, civil society organizations, media and others to play their role in educating the youths about the consequences of drug abuse.

In his welcome address, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NICO, Mr Mohammed Yahuza, disclosed that 40% of Nigerian youth are deeply enmeshed in drug abuse.

He said, “According to the United Nations Office on Drug Control (UNOD), drug abuse by Nigerians is three times higher than the globe average. Statistics by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) show that 29.4million Nigerians abuse drugs.

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“ARTCO is one of the core programmes of the Institute designed to bring together various interest groups, relevant stakeholders, researchers and scholars to deliberate and exchange views on critical and topical issues from the cultural perspective. It is our hope that recommendations from the programme would influence government policies and programmes.”

In his remarks, Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, called for reorientation and sensitization of the Nigerian youths against drug abuse.

He said, “If we don’t do anything about it now, if we don’t start this reorientation now, everything will blow up in our faces. So it is timely, we all need to key into it. It is time to do something about it, not just talk about it.

“This is just one of the approaches to tackle it. We need to adopt so many approaches, we go to the schools, secondary schools, higher institutions, put it into drama, act it up and implement it.”

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