By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Northern Governors Wives Forum (NGWF) has raised the alarm over an alleged growing rate of drug abuse by young women and youths in the region.
This is coming as the wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called for a holistic framework to tackle the menace of drug abuse among women and youths saying that it was solely responsible for the increase in school drop-out rate, crimes and violence, escalating in various parts of the country.
The wife of the Niger State governor, Dr. Amina Abubakar Bello in a statement yesterday on the outcome of the recent drug awareness and advocacy training organised by the NGWF in Abuja, lamented that the problem of drug abuse amongst youths had continued to exacerbate at an alarming rate, with Northern states at the top of the table for the highest cases of drug abuse and addiction.
Mrs. Bello who was the Project Committee Chairperson said: “Over the years, the problem had become very common with women in the North, as it had been reported that an increasing number of mothers and young girls engage in drug/substance abuse; codeine being the most abused among this group.
“The extent of drug abuse in Nigeria had prompted the NGWF to make it one of their intervention priorities. Consequently, we sought to partner with relevant organisations and stakeholders to curb the menace of drugs and alleviate the several adverse consequences of drug use and dependence in Northern Nigeria.”
Aisha Buhari who was represented by the wife of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Mrs. Gimbiya Yakubu Dogara, lamented that drug abuse and addiction had now become a serious health and social issue rendering its user unproductive and dangerous.
Unfortunately, she said, a considerable number of victims of drug abuse were young people and alarmingly women, who if not treated and counselled, will have little chances of development.
â€œI call on private owners of schools to include teaching against drug abuse in their curriculum, so that children can be enlightened, about the vice to stop the abuse.
â€œParents need to talk to their children about the dangers of drug abuse which is a lot easier than losing a child to drugs. Young people need to shun drug abuse and be masters of their destiny,â€œ she said.
Also speaking, theÂ chairman of the Northern Governorâ€™s Forum, Kashim Shettima who was represented by the Secretary to the Borno State Government, Abba Shiwa noted that the issue of the intake of illicit drugs had reached an alarming proportion in Borno state since the invasion of the Boko Haram.
â€œBorno was not known as a drug infected state, nor any relation to drug trafficking, but we have now found ourselves within the region of illicit drug consumption by men, women and children at an alarming rate, and we need help to curb the menace.â€
Similarly, the chairperson of NGWF, Hajiya Asmau Abdulazeez Yari, said that some of the intervention the forum would carry out will include running an outreach and awareness campaign themed, â€œBreaking the Culture of Silence: Is your Loved One an Addict?â€ across all Northern States; an establishment of a 24-hour language sensitive helpline and a fundraising dinner to fund the project.
Yari attributed the increase in drug abuse, especially amongst youths to hash environmental climate and imitation of the developed countries.
She also listed some of the disadvantages of drug abuse to include: ill health, dropping out from school, and other social deviant behaviour.
“We have to do something but we cannot do it alone; we the wives cannot do it alone. We need support to curb the challenge of drug abuse in Northern Nigeria,” she said.
According to the founder, House of Recovery, Ms. Hadiza Aliko Mohammed, top among the substance of abuse are: codeine, fuels, cobwebs, cocaine, heroine and marijuana amongst others.
Mohammed said that in addition to the list above, the people involved also used other ingenious ways to abuse drugs.