ABEOKUTA – Head of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission on Drug Control and Civil Society, Hajiya Raheemat Momodu has attributed drug abuse by Nigerian youths on their exposure to negative media messages and peer group influence.
Hajiya Momodu made this known on Monday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital while addressing journalists during ECOWAS Public Awareness Programme On Drug Prevention Targeted at Vulnerable Groups in Ogun State, Nigeria.
According to her, exposure to negative media content like foreign movies, unemployment and peer pressure among other factors responsible for abuse of drugs by some youths in Nigeria.
She added that, ECOWAS commission was in Ogun State to rally more support through advocacy to the fight against drug abuse.
She stated that the Commission while in the state would meet with vulnerable groups such as transport workers, commercial motorcyclists, market women, the youths among others for public enlightenment and advocacy on how to win the war against drug abuse.
Hajiya Momodu stated that the menace has become dangerous trend among youths and House wives in Nigeria.
The ECOWAS head maintained that the war against drug abuse and trafficking would yield positive result if African leaders stopped pretending and living in self denial saying, “we must accept that people having drug problems are very many. We need to show greater commitment especially in prevention. We are playing the ostrich, pretending as if it is not a problem. We must take the message everywhere through advocacy. All of us must be involved to win the war against drug abuse, trafficking among others.”
She condemned African leaders for not implementing the policy plans against the scourge of drug abuse as signed under ECOWAS and African Union (AU), calling on the media to hold leaders at all levels accountable on lack of implementation of agreements.
“All over Nigeria, we have youths, children, women and sometimes, adult who are abusing drugs.
“More women are taking drugs now, even the house wives. Its rising. Its a dangerous trends.
” In terms of the political commitment of our leaders, there are a lot of agreement they have signed into at national, AU and ECOWAS levels. The responsibility for us, especially those in the media is to hold them accountable to implement what they have signed to implement.”
She therefore called on Nigerian media as partners in progress to campaign against drug abuse in their media messages as part of their social responsibility, saying campaign against the tide of drug abuse should not be commercialized.
Hajiya Momodu however enjoined traditional institution in the country to join hands with the team by advocating against the abuse of drugs in their locality.
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS team in conjunction with National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ogun State command paid courtesy visits to the Ogun State chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists and a traditional ruler in the state, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, the Osile of Oke-Ona Egba.