The Vanguard Against Drug Abuse has urged governments, corporate organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to put more efforts in the fight against drug abuse in society.
The group’s Executive Director, Dr Hope Omeiza, made the call during the inauguration of the Youth Alive Drug Abuse, sensitisation, self-awareness and treatment project for Gbagalape Community, Nyanya Extension, Abuja.
The project, carried out in collaboration with the Soaring Youth Foundation, seeks provision of therapy and empowerment for 1,000 youths in Abuja by the end of next year.
The project was also carried out in partnership with the National Drug law Enforcement Agency and Shekinah International Gospel Ministry, Abuja.
Mr Omeiza called for partnership with relevant agencies, including well- meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations, to assist the youth in becoming more productive.
According to him, “It is not enough to just get them out of drugs. The question is ‘What is next for them? This is why we are calling on those who mean well for Nigeria to key into this project and empower people who have been rehabilitated. That way, they will be well integrated so they don’t go back to the menace.
“We are faced with terrorism and insecurity. Our productivity as a country is going down by the day and this is a cause for concern. The drivers of development are the youths. So there is no development a nation can boast of or aspire to without youths being in their right minds to develop and then develop Nigeria.
“That is why this project is of utmost importance and should call naturally on those who are interested in Nigeria’s development,” he said.
According to him, “if anybody is interested in developing Nigeria, then these are programmes they should invest in. How do you empower someone who is hooked on drugs?
“So we have to first of all free and rescue their minds from drugs and other maladaptive behaviours that they have brought to themselves or practised in the past so they can discover themselves and use the skills we want to impart on them to become productive,” he said.
The Lead Pastor, Shekinah International Gospel Ministry, Michael Awe, lauded the project, saying that it was partnering VGADA to tackle the menace of drug abuse.
This, he said, was to help rescue the youth in the local community from drug addiction and several social vices.
“Youth Alive Project is a wonderful one. It is a dream come true and we thank God for it. We thank God for the approach of detoxification we are having through VGADA. It is a good one because it will help them gain freedom from addiction just like they have confessed that they are willing and ready to relinquish the act of drug addiction.
“Governments and other well-meaning Nigerians and organisations can help in facilitating this programme,” he said.
Also speaking, the NDLEA Chairman, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, lauded VGADA for the initiative and commended its good work to ensure that the country was free of illicit drugs.
Mr Marwa, represented by his Assistant Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Chidi Ndukwu, commended Mr Omeiza and his team for their commitment to a drug-free society.
“Dr Omeiza and his team have shown so much commitment to a drug-free society. Their commitment to peace, security and national development has led to what we are having today – Drug Abuse Sensitisation, Self Awareness and Treatment.
“Like I told the people in Wumba, No nation can fulfill its destiny as their leadership cannot deliver on mandate under a riotous youth population. National development is a product of a coordinated effort by all and sundry of which talent harnessing and utilisation play an important role. The role of the youth in this regard can therefore not be over emphasised,” he said.
A beneficiary of the project, Abdullahi Momoh, expressed gratitude for the opportunity.
“I feel changed and I feel touched because the drugs we are talking about are not good. We are grateful to the organisers of this programme. I encourage other youths to desist from drug abuse,” he said.