Baale of the Obele-Odan community in Surulere, Lagos, Oba (Alh.) Kareem Awoyemi, has advised youths to abstain from drug abuse and misuse, while urging parents to pay attention to what their children are doing and know the kind of friends they keep.
The traditional ruler further advised that drug abuse, misuse and addiction, if unchecked, could only lead to irresponsible living, adding that parents should constantly talk to their children and bring them up in a way that they can be better citizens and be useful to the society.
Awoyemi made the remarks during a one-day community awareness campaign on drug abuse and misuse, organised recently by the Social and Administrative Pharmacy Faculty of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, WAPCP (Nigeria Chapter), in Obele-Odan.
“I have made it known to my subjects, my people and all those who care to know that I, as the traditional leader of this community, will not condone hooliganism, criminal activities, cultism and other vices that are the resultant effect of drug abuse, because I don’t abuse drugs myself. I appreciate the gesture of WAPCP for deeming my community fit for this kind of programme. We hope to have them back sooner,” Awoyemi said.
Speaking in the same vein, representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) also called on parents, guardians and community leaders to step up monitoring of youths and children, in order to curb the prevalence of drug abuse and misuse in the society.
The Assistant Director, Drug Abuse Preventive Education Department of NDLEA, Mrs Stella Ngwoke, noted that youths and children are more involved in drug abuse and misuse.
Speaking on the topic, “The Role of NDLEA in Combating Drug Abuse in Nigeria”, she described illicit drug as any substance that could transform the central nervous system and affect the person’s behaviour or thought.
According to her, “Parents need to address their children’s challenges as regards drug abuse by monitoring their activities, and also by not being too tired to listen and pay attention to their needs because once the children lose faith in their parents, they can never confide in them again,’’ she said.
The NDLEA official further stated that drug abuse poses a serious problem to the victims, the family and the entire society, adding that it has brought misery to many families, and that the victims are especially more predisposed to contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and other illnesses, as well as becoming more criminally-minded.
In his own speech, Mr John Emmanuel Bankole, principal officer, Narcotics Substance Directorate, NAFDAC, tasked parents to properly monitor the activities of their children, as well as those of other children, saying if they fail to monitor the children of others, those left unmonitored may become their nightmares in the community.
The expert also warned children to desist from exposing themselves to songs and other activities like peer pressure that expose them to substance abuse, noting that the now common slogan for drug abusers “science student” would only lead them to self-harm.
Addressing parents in particular, Bankole asked: “Parents, when last did you go to your children’s room to check the contents of their bags and how often do you monitor their movements and the kind of friends they keep? These and many more are very important because the menace has eaten deep into our society and it has brought several harms to people’s lives.”
Also speaking at the event, Chairman of Obele Odan Community Development Area, Mr Yusuf Osagie, called for proper enforcement of the law against illicit drugs peddling, saying drug abuse is not desirable in any society, and should be discouraged, as it can lead to fragmentation in the family, as well as untimely death.