Paul Obi in Abuja
The Northern Governors Wives’ Forum, Reconnect Health Development Initiative and other stakeholders yesterday raised the alarm over the increasing spate of drug and substance abuse across several internally displayed persons (IDPs) camps in the northern part of the country.
Speaking at a sensitisation forum in Abuja on drug rehabilitation and detoxification of IDP camps and their host communities, wife of the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Amina Abubakar Bello, said the high rate of drugs and substance abuse at the camps were frightening and portend great danger to the nation.
According to her, drug abuse destroys the society in various facets, stating that: “It’s personal to me because I realised that some of my own relatives are involved- women and children. The problem cuts across all classes of people.
“The problem has to be tackled in an integrated fashion in order to deal with all the challenges of drugs and substances abuse. IDPs need food, clothes and shoes, not drugs and substances abuse.”
The governor’s wife further stated that what is needed is a new approach in tackling the menace, stressing that wives of northern governors have already put in place some mechanism to checkmate drug abuse across IDP camps.
Also, a representative of the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Dr. Allison Abdullahi, told the gathering that there is a presidential initiative to nib in the bud the increasing rate of drug abuse among IDPs.
She added: “We are hoping that by August this year, drug abuse and mental health will be adopted by the National Council on Health, including the fact that we have several response mechanisms to IDPs and other victims of Boko Haram insurgency.”
Chief Executive of Reconnect Health Development Initiatives, Dr. Vincent Udenze, who made a presentation on the experience encountered in one of the IDP camps in Borno State, said the Nigerian government must expedite action to tackle the menace of drugs and substance abuse across the IDP camps.
Udenze argued that most people who resort to drugs do so with the aim to address traumatic challenges resulting from their plights with the insurgency.
He called for concerted efforts in fighting the scourge and providing strategic leadership to curb the menace.
An IDP, Mr. Yusuf Bala, also narrated his experience on the danger of drugs in the camp, calling on government to do more to arrest the ugly situation.