Sensitising Youths against Drug Abuse, Cultism

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Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that given the great danger posed by drug abuse, cultism and get-rich-quick syndrome, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation recently held a cultural and moral sensitisation workshop for youths of Oredo area of Edo State

Drug abuse in Nigeria is a major cause for concern, especially since children as young as eleven years old, are now abusing drugs. To many youths, drugs provide an elixir, an escape into the world of dreams which often starts from experimentation to addiction.

Undoubtedly, there is need to reduce substance abuse to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for all, especially children. This is because millions of Nigerians struggle with a drug or alcohol problem.

Substance abuse has a major impact on individuals, families, and communities. The effects of substance abuse are cumulative, significantly contributing to costly social, physical, mental, and public health problems while cultism on the other hand is another social challenge that has crippled the society, along the get-rich-quick syndrome.

CBAAC Steps In

Drug abuse is a fundamental public health problem that aggravates economic crises that lead the youths into cultism, gangsterism and other vices with its huge unpleasant consequences.

It was to tackle these anomalies that the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), under the leadership of Director-General, Mrs. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, organised a workshop on ‘Cultural and Moral Sensitisation of Youths against Drug Abuse, Cultism and Get-Rich-Quick Syndrome’ for youths in Oredo area of Edo State.

The event which was held at St. Paul Youth Centre, Benin City, Edo State, was conceived to educate the youths on the dangers posed by drug abuse, cultism and the quest to get rich quick.

The workshop, which was chaired by Hon Obadegie also had in attendance, the representatives of Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama (House Committee Chairman on Culture and Tourism), and the DG CBAAC, among many other dignitaries.

Guests were entertained to a dance drama on the Bini culture. At the end of the workshop which recorded a resounding success, certificates were issued to participants. In all, more than 20 secondary schools with over 300 youths attended this intellectually rewarding workshop.

Youth-centered Sensitisation

The event, which is one of CBAAC’s outreach programmes, was designed to educate the youths on contemporary issues of Drug Abuse, Cultism and the quest to get rich either by hook or by crook.
In her welcome address, CBAAC DG, Hon Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao (FITP), who was ably represented by the Assistant Director Research and Publications Department of CBAAC, Mr Adesegun Dosumu, expressed delight and thanked the youths for their large turnout. He said the centre thought it wise to organise the workshop in Edo State because the youths as future leaders doesn’t start from tomorrow but today, adding that the essence of the event was for cultural and moral re-generation of the Nigerian youth.

While expressing the centre’s revolve to organise an event of this magnitude to inculcate sound moral and cultural values that would make Nigerian youths better persons, he said that drug abuse, cultism and other cult-related activities would retard their progress in life.

“That morally upright youths are the ones who will become future leaders,” Amao explained, and thereafter encouraged them to see the event as a unique opportunity for attitudinal change and desist from bad company and embrace good and sound attitudes towards life.

She said: “My joy stems from the fact that the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), under my leadership has continued to make tremendous progress in the discharge of its statutory mandate. I made this assertion bearing in mind the centre’s numerous programmes of activities; one of which we are all gathered here today.

“As someone who is very much concerned and holds the matters of arts and culture very dear to heart, and particularly as it involves our youths, I must commend the youths in Edo State for coming out in their numbers to attend this event. Therefore, CBAAC will continue to organise events of this nature that seek to bring youths from different schools and cultural backgrounds together in order to channel their skills and potentials to positive use.

“Distinguished guests, you will agree with me that our youths hold the future of this great nation. What becomes of our country tomorrow depends on how intellectually and morally sound the youths of today are? If the youths of today are mentally sound, psychologically balanced and enriched with good moral values, then our country is blessed. Because any nation whose youthful population is morally awkward, misfits and societal degenerates, that nation is already in deep crises.

“ It was the urgent need to arrest the growing tide of cultism, drug abuse and the quest to get-rich quick among our youths that necessitated this sensitisation workshop to enlighten the youths on the dangers of these societal ills and also have them bear their minds on issues of national concern.

“Therefore, it is very important that as youths you combine your creative talent with education. As education holds the key to a glorious future. Combining education with creativity will make you not only academically equipped but also socially relevant.

“Finally, it is necessary to also stress that youths who are involved in the ignoble issues of drug abuse, cultism and the unsavoury appetite to get-rich-quick and other immoral behaviours would amount to little or nothing in life. I encourage you to take your education seriously and undertake other noble activities like skill acquisition training programmes that would enhance your chances of becoming a successful person in the future. And, please note that the future we talk about is now and not tomorrow. Because if you to fail to plan today by shunning all immoral lifestyle by embracing good productive ventures, you may not have a desired future.”

Interweaving Drug Abuse, Cultism

The first speaker, Mr Kingsley Ogbeide, interwove drug abuse and cultism. According to him, although drug abuse is a fundamental public health problem, it aggravates economic crises that lead the youths into cultism, gangsterism and other vices with its huge unpleasant consequences.

“As such, the able bodied youth who is expected to channel his or her youthful energy to productive venture is rendered useless by the use of hard drugs. He thereafter encouraged the youths to pursue their dreams with vigour and tenacity because at the end of every dark tunnel is a glorious dawn,” he added.

On the other hand, one of the guest lecturers Hon Oghosa Edobor, also pointed out that drug abuse is one of the factors that fuel cultism and get-rich-quick syndrome. He admonished the youths to imbibe the virtue of patience in their daily activities.

Tackling Internet Fraud

The Chairman House Committee on Culture & Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama who was represented at the workshop, tackled internet fraud.

Expressing profound appreciation to the Director-General of CBAAC, Hon Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao (FITP) for bringing the sensitisation workshop to Edo State, Hon Ogbeide-Ihama who was represented by Hon Oduwa Igbinason, said that he was particularly elated by the theme of the workshop Cultural and Moral Sensitisation of Youths against Drug Abuse, Cultism and Get-Rich-Quick Syndrome also commended the youths for coming out in large number.

He informed the audience that the workshop was organised to have a robust discussion with the youths on the dangers of drug abuse, cultism and unnecessary urge to get rich at all cost by whichever means necessary.

While expressing sadness in what he called the modern trend of internet fraud popularly known as ‘yahoo yahoo’, he said that immoral behaviour can only lead one to a disastrous end. He encouraged the youths to shun all social vices and embrace good moral behaviour that will take them to a brighter and glorious future.

Peer Pressure

Earlier, the keynote lecture, delivered by Dr Ebima Ogbeide a consultant on Alcohol and Drug Addiction, attributed drug abuse and cultism to peer pressure.

He said “drug abuse and cultism are very dangerous vices which come as a result of peer pressure. People hardly get drunk on the drinks they buy for themselves but on the ones given to them freely. Given the peculiar nature of drugs, to take any drug no matter how small without prescription is abuse of drugs.”

He further warned the youth, particularly students, who take drugs in order read at night to abstain from such dangerous behaviour.