By Abdullahi Yusuf Kuta.
Honestly, Drug Abuse has become very popular trend among young people in Niger State and
irrespective of the gender. And, the addiction poses a serious health challenge to users and also to our collective security and safety.
Sadly, and more worrisome is the lackadaisical attitude the authorities charged with the responsibility in curtailing and controlling the use and trafficking of those illicit drugs and other intoxicants are not doing much in this context. It just seems no one is in charge of the situation in Niger state.
Honestly, the open sells of such drugs and the ease at which the culprits obtain these items at free will should at least concern any right thinking individual and parents alike. This is not the Niger state that I was raised in and, one I envisioned as a child. I cherish a society that is free from all such vices that easily corrupts and the young ones are the easily swayed and the most gullible. As a matter of urgency, we must collectively do all we could to stop this ugly trend.
The backdrop of the escalating abuse of drugs in Niger State has led some youths groups like the Arewa Initiative Against Drugs and more recently the one by Comrade Faruk Musa Mohammed is coming as relief to the prevailing challenge facing our generation. And on that front i express my excitement about the modest efforts of these young minds who are tomorrow’s leaders, are championing the course of a drug free society. They’re lending voices and support through advocacy and public enlightening programs on the growing trend of drugs abuse and addiction among men and women in our
contemporary society. This is quite commendable. I salute their efforts, courage and resolve to correct what has become a social problem and menace not only in Niger state but, across the North.
It is imperative to call on the attention of the Niger State Government, under the able and committed leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, to commence as a matter of utmost importance and, of public good, concern and safety to launch a whole cleansing campaign against the use of illicit drugs and the grave dangers and consequences such unwholesome practice portends. While, embarking on an intensive media campaign may be very needful. It is important to stress here that, the mass media has many important roles it performs to the society which includes; informing, educating, entertaining and, mobilizing. So, with these very important functions, the media must be effectively deploy to bring to the public consciousness about the growing trend and the looming danger.
Therefore, the Niger state government should as a matter of urgency, explore better ways of inter agency/government collaboration and partnership with relevant federal government agencies charged with such function for effective service delivery. The state has done so well in terms of providing logistical support to security agencies in policing the state. So, extend support to the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) would not be counterproductive.
More importantly, is to start and sustain a statewide campaign which should include visitation to educational institutions, motor parks and also engage religious, traditional and opinion leaders to partake in the exercise with a view of having a drug and crime free society.
And the big task should be on how best the state government and other relevant agencies like the National Drugs Law and Enforcement Agency, NAFDAC, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Customs,
Directorate of State Services and the Nigeria Civil and Defense Corps to devise means of curtailing the supply chain of the drugs (cough syrups with codeine substance and Tramadol) in other to limit or even completely wipe away the circulation of these drugs that is gaining more popularity among Nigerians.
I believe, only holistic approach that will aggressively put those who feeds large from the proceeds of the illicit trade can put them in checks.
And at the end, a drug free society and by extension Nigeria, will be better and even more suitable to live in and flourish, and also the generality of those who in Niger state to be free from perpetrators of criminal activities occasioned and induced by the use of such illicit and dangerous drugs. While, the high rate of mental illness caused by drug addiction will drastically reduce in Niger state.
Abdullahi Yusuf Kuta,
Department of Mass Communication,
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State.