It was a total declaration of war against drug abuse in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, when royal fathers and other major stakeholders came together to speak in unison against the menace which they described as the major cause of crimes and other social vices.
They made the declaration at a town hall meeting themed, ‘War Against Drug Abuse’, and organized by the Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative LTD/GTE (IDPILG), a body established to fight against crimes in the division, in conjunction with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The Lagos State Commandant, NDLEA, Barr. Tallis Alumina, at the stakeholders meeting, decorated His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Oba Semiudeen Orimadegun Kasali, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, High Chief Adewunmi Ogunsanya, the Odofin of Ikorodu, Otunba Ganiyu Olusegun Abiru, the Executive Secretary, IDPILG, and Mrs Abike Adekanye, the Tutor – General/Permanent Secretary, Education District II, as NDLEA Ambassadors against drug abuse in Nigeria.
Chief (Mrs) Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, Chairperson, IDPILG Sub Committee on Cultism and Drug Abuse, setting the tone at the gathering, said that the aim is to declare all – out war against drug abuse.
The former acting Commissioner of Tourism in Lagos State also stated that the programme was targeted at youths, stating that the group believes that the move would secure youths’ future and that of the society.
“Today’s programme is one in the series of many enlightenment programmes to be organized by Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative LTD/GTE (IDPILG) and this one is purposely organized in conjunction with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lagos State Command”, she said.
“The essence of this programme is to publicly declare war against drug abuse for the realization of a better Ikorodu Division.
“This programme is designed to focus more on our youths because it is our belief that with continuous enlightenment programmes on the danger of drug abuse, the future of our youths would have been guaranteed and secured”, she added.
She expressed her displeasure at the prevalence of the menace among younger generations in primary and secondary schools with serious negative effects.
“Many of us must have heard of the term ‘Drug Abuse’ and probably know exactly what it means. It is the illegal use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for other purposes rather than for those they are meant for, or in excessive amounts.
“Sadly, this problem is quite prevalent in our societies even among children at the elementary and secondary school levels. It goes without saying that abusing drugs can have dire consequences which may be physical, social, psychological or emotional harmful to the abuser and or other persons”, Hon. Akinsola said.
“The effects may also be of an economic nature since someone with a serious drug addiction may be unable to work or earn a living as a direct result of his or her addiction and perhaps be an instrument in the hands of merchants of death.
“It is important to note this fact that, as part of the objectives of Ikorodu Division Peace Initiative LTD/GTE, in the process of giving back to our communities and considering all the selected topics and choice of highly experienced facilitators that were invited to come here and share their wealth of knowledge with us. I’m optimistic that at the end of this public enlightenment programme, we would all have been able to agree to the fact that drug abuse is injurious to our physical and mental stability.
“This community needs us. This community wants our youths to prosper and do well and the only way through which this can be possible is to stay away from dangerous drugs”, she said.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the IDPILG, Otunba Ganiyu Abiru assured the operatives of the body’s Joint Task Force that their welfare is of paramount importance to them.
He called out one of them that was injured during his official duty for commendations and also pledged IDPILG’s readiness to take care of the personnel .
He equally called for support from the public for the fight against drug abuse to make Ikorodu free of the menace.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Semiudeen Kasali, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo commended the IDPILG for the laudable initiative which he said would help in combating crimes in the division.
The royal father advised that more video of the effects of drug abuse should be use in campaigning against drug abuse for youth to see consequences of engaging in such act.
Barr. Tallis Alumona, the State Commandant, NDLEA, said that he attended the programme because IDPILG is an NGO with a difference and also to further propagate the war against drug abuse that the agency is championing all over the country.
“I am here to appreciate this initiative. This is the kind of idea that we at the NDLEA want to be identifying with”, he said.
“This is an NGO (IDPILG) with a difference and we want to be associated with you”.
He called for practical action against drug abuse because of its effects on individuals and the society at large.
“We can talk about drug abuse till tomorrow but at the end, what matters is the actions that we are taking”, he said.
“Drug abuse is a danger to the individual engaging in it, the society and the nation at large”.
The NDLEA Commandant, speaking further on the effects of drug abuse, said that it is also the cause of banditry, terrorism rape and other form of crimes in the country.
“We have on good authority that terrorists are now demanding for drugs as means of payment”, NDLEA Commandant said.
“It is not a good thing that the country is degenerating because drugs are now a barrier in our primary and secondary schools”.
He said that war against the menace has been launched at the federal level and that it is expected to be pursued across states and councils.
“We have launched a campaign against war at the national level and we are doing the same across the states and council areas. We want everybody to be involved”, he said.
“We want stakeholders and people in Ikorodu to continue the campaign against drug abuse. We will do our best to ensure that drug abuse is brought to a minimal level in Ikorodu”, he assured.
The NDLEA Commandant in Ikorodu, Mr Opeloyeru Lawal, who was one of the resource persons that delivered paper at the programme, described drug abuse and illicit trafficking as a global problem which have affected all facets of the society.
“The choice of this topic is deliberate because it has been discovered that parents are failing in their responsibilities and it is generally believed that no voice can be dearer and more acceptable to a child than that of his/her mother”.
He charged and emphasized that parents and guardians need to do more in guiding their children and wards along paths that are beneficial to themselves, their family and the society at large.
Another NDLEA senior personnel, Mrs Oluwaranti Sanni, that also spoke at the event, said that drug abuse is a problem which cut across ages, race, sex, religion and positions in the society.
She said that statistics globally have shown that drug abuse is on the increase.
“Everyone are prone to drug use and abuse, statistics worldwide have shown that there is an increase in the number of users despite the consequences; mentally, socially and physically”.
“Drug abuse is a major causative agent behind all crimes such as armed robbery, rape, cultism, banditry, kidnapping and other similar crimes.
“In Nigeria, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency is fighting hard to eradicate/reduce illicit drugs to prevent the escalation of this crisis”, she added.
The representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikorodu branch, Mrs Toun Adekoya, said that the initiators of the fight against drug abuse are making great contributions to the development of the society.
She also said that drugs enhance crimes and cause a lot of pains in society, while adding that the major cause of domestic crimes is drug abuse.
“Drugs enhance crimes in our society and it is a pain on the society. The major cause of domestic violence is drugs.
“After consuming all sorts of drugs, a father will return home and the next thing is to inflict violence.
“Those men that are using all these drinks and drugs to enhance their sexual huge are also not doing the society any good.
“We have many cases of domestic violence on weekly basis in Ikorodu”, she said.
She called on parents to be more alive to their responsibilities and help in bringing up their children in good way so that they can contribute positively to the development of the society.
While warning students and youths generally against committing crimes on the ground that they are teenagers, Mrs Toun also warned that they can be made answerable for engaging in illegal acts.
Meanwhile, during the interactive session, Mr Samson Bisiriyu, the Executive Secretary, Ikorodu Division Youth Initiative (IDYI), in his contribution, called for establishment of rehabilitation centres in Ikorodu and across the state to treat drug addicts and trained them on skills to be better persons after their programme.
Also, a teacher called on the NDLEA to partner more with schools, stating that teachers know about the students and also deal with those that are engaging in drugs and social vices on a daily basis.