As part of measures to keep youths away from drug and substance abuse, the Ogun State government says plans are ongoing to put in place an agency for youth engagement and empowerment.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun made this known at a programme in commemoration of the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto Abeokuta.
The Governor, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ekundayo Ayinde, noted that drug abuse was mostly common among youths, saying his administration was committed to reducing unemployment and idleness among future leaders.
He said the agency after its creation would allow unemployed youths to enlist with government through its website, thereby creating a pool from which employers of labour and government could engage them, adding that this would help reduce prevalence of drug abuse in the society.
Abiodun urged parents, teachers, traditional leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, security agencies and other stakeholders in the society to contribute their quota towards stemming the tide of the menace.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Ogun State Drug Control Committee (OSDCC), Pharm. Olufemi Fafiolu said government, in conjunction with some other stakeholders thought it necessary to organize a relay race competition among some secondary schools in the State to celebrate the day, adding that sports was a viable means for propagating anti drug abuse messages.
The Chairman revealed that, the task of curbing drug abuse has been daunting and government too was unrelenting in its efforts to make the State a drug free State, he therefore enjoined the relevant stakeholders, such as, higher institutions, NURTW, NATA, ACOMORAN, CDA, PTA, religion organisations, traditional rulers, media houses and others to join hands in fighting against drug abuse.
On his part, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd), said his agency had been in the forefront of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking and had always put in place events to highlights the dangers of drug abuse and illegal drug trade.
Col. Abdallah, represented by the Assistant Commander, Administration and Logistics, NDLEA, Ogun State Command, Mrs. Charity Wagbara, revealed that this year’s theme, ” Health for Justice, Justice for Health”, required inclusive and accountable institutions of criminal justice, health and social services to work together, to provide integrated solutions, in line with the international drug control conventions, human rights obligations and Sustainable Development Goals.
He revealed that as part of the effort to curb this menace, President Muhammad Buhari had put in place Presidential Advisory Committee for Elimination of Drug Abuse, of which activities since inception has been highly commendable, while also appreciating a network service provider for their partnership to sensitize the population in drug prevention.