Town hall Parley: Lawmakers, Stakeholders Unite On War Against Drug Abuse

August 20, 2021
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The seventh annual stakeholders’ town hall meeting held across the 40 constituencies of Lagos State focus more on the youths, who are proudly referred to as the future leaders with a bid to frontally tackle the drug and substance abuse misnomer now prevalent in the society.

From one constituency to the other, Agege to Epe, Badagry and more in a simultaneous manner the ills of mishandling of drug took the frontal couch, with a theme: “Increasing Wave of Drug Abuse: A threat To Nation Building‘”, as prominent individuals within given communities highlighted the ugly trend and also proffers workable solutions.

The state legislature harped on its previous efforts to champion the course of rebranding children and youths in the state through sporting activities, vocational trainings, human capital capacity empowerment, all galvanized into laws to ease the scourge of attendant social vices it breeds, if their energies are not well channeled to productive avenues.

The EndSars scenario being a nasty experience is clearly an example of the worsening trend.

The lawmakers and other stakeholders in what appears to be a unanimous voice vote all echoed, the need for parents, government and the society at large to take up the challenge of grooming the upcoming generation well and to sensitize them on the inherent dangers of substance abuse.

Pupils, Students and instructors were also present to get a first hand grasps of the discourse.

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, in his Agege Constituency 1 stakeholder’s parley, decried the increasing rate of drug abuse among youths and even parents in Nigeria as he sound a note of warning that this menace must be urgently checked to prevent its devastating effects on the growth and progress of the country.

According to Obasa, the Lagos State House of Assembly has been at the forefront of the fight against drug abuse through various legislations.

“At the Lagos State House of Assembly, the leadership and members of the House have always taken matters affecting residents and especially the youths very passionately.

“The House has continued to be proactive in the consideration of viable laws and policies that would enhance youth potentials and development.

“Some of the recent laws that are passed attest to government’s efforts on this matter and these include the law to amend the Lagos State Sports Commission law of 2015 to promote youth and sports development in Lagos and for connected purposes.

“The law will ensure that youths are provided with great opportunities not only in the area of recreation but where they can nurture, explore and utilise their potentials in sporting activities to become professional sportsmen and women.

“This would also take the minds of many of them off drug abuse and criminal activities,” the Speaker said.

Obasa listed other youth-oriented bills considered by the House to include two recent ones for the establishment of a university of education and another for the establishment of a university of science and technology, which aims to address the inadequacies in polytechnic education system in Nigeria.

“While the passage of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps is aimed at ensuring the safety of all in our neighbourhood, the prevalence of drug abuse amongst adults and youths, if not effectively addressed and curbed, will jeopardise the entire efforts of the House in the establishment of a safe, peaceful, and livable society.

“Consequently, we call on all stakeholders, residents, parents, teachers, students, school proprietors, religious organisations, celebrities, social media influencers, professional bodies, the academia, civil society organisations and community leaders to work in concert with the government for the common good of our society by saying ‘no to drug abuse trafficking’,” he said.

Hon.Adedamola Kasunmu who represents Ikeja Constituency 2 at the State Assembly urged the key players saddled with the grooming of children to buckle up, while tasks the government on the need to equip the school with basic learning and recreational facility that afford a conducive area for study as well as create avenues where youths can dissipate their energies positively.

He also appeal to parents on the need for them to play their role effectively in the proper nurturing of their wards,  as the youths remain the arm of the society that can sustain Nigeria’s existence.

Speaking to the theme of the parley, ‘Increasing Wave of Drug Abuse: A threat To Nation Building’, Kasunmu raised concern on the prevalence of black spots across the constituency, while he urged all parents to tackle the issue frontally from the home front.

“Black spots are springing up everywhere at a frightening rate in our main streets and inner communities across Ikeja and Ojodu”.Nigeria’s progress can only be better protected through the youths.

He indicated what he will do personally to check the ugly trend in his constituency, which includes youthful engagements and empowerment to help shift the focus of the youths from substance and drug abuse.

“I will do series of engagement targeted at addressing these problems, I will also facilitate vocational training and empowerment for the youths to help shift their focus.

Regarding Ipodo a spot within Ikeja which has suddenly become a drug and  substance abuse spot, Kasunmu notes that the area needs restructuring to make it inhabitable for miscreants.

“It is a problem of leadership and delineation, we will just have to sit down with the leadership and restrategize on ways to make the community look better get more developed.

” I had already done some anti- drug campaigns in various schools within the constituency, before now and it is a battle that we must continue to fight because the interest in narcotic and substance abuse is now getting stronger than it used to be.

“Tackling it is not just limited to school authorities but also to the government and the parents, they have to do more to make sure that our students get to do more things with their time and get occupied by making sure that they commit themselves to the development of capacity.

 “To enhance their further growth and contribute to nation building as a whole.

“It is a situation that all hands must be on deck, to ensure that our educational institutions are equipped with the capacity to further develop strategies, to end this menace called drug abuse.

“It is sickening, we are losing lives, we are losing bright promising future leaders to narcotic and drugs abuse.

“We have a lot of them infiltrating our primary schools, what is this nation turning into?

He maintained that this is the time to act, time to go back to the drawing to fix things.

One of the participants at the parley, Comrade Temitope  Majekodunmi of Ikeja Indigene Progressives, a community based group raise concern on Ipodo market being taken over by youths engaging in drug and substance abuse.

Speaking earlier Mr. Adeleke Dally-Adeokun a Chairman Caretaker committee APC Ikeja, noted that the parents are failing in their parental role and something drastic must be done to salvage the situation.

Primary school children taking to drug shows the parental role is failing. Why are we having 1m boys? In the past husband and wife will live in a room and they still control their children. Mothers have much to do here, let’s go back to the drawing board, there is no absolute human right.

“We must protect this our own, we must as a nation continue to do that, there is no better time than now.

Constituents from all areas of the constituency were also asked to make written suggestions of what other development they desire from government in Ikeja.

The parley is basically to help the government plan its fiscal document to cater for people’s needs.

In Ajeromi Ifelodun Constituency 2, the House of Assembly member Hon. Fatai Oluwa restated his resolve to use existing sporting facilities to engage the pupils and students, as an avenue to shift their gaze off drug abuse and other social vices.

One of the participants at the parley Mr. Labile, President, Nigeria Union of Teachers {NUT}, Ajeromi-Ifelodun chapter, lamented the shortage of teachers in public primary schools in the LGA, as others express their displeasure on the fact that projects facilitated by the lawmaker were not featured amongst projects documented in the 7th annual constituency stakeholders’ meeting journal, they counseled that he should sensitize the constituents through available grassroots mode to further create a bond between him and them.

The major strides of the council chairman in engendering functional sporting model in the area, were also highlighted, which includes; the construction of the first standard astro turf pitch in Tolu Nursery and Primary School, construction of astro turf pitches across public primary schools in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area, and with the ongoing construction of Maracana sporting complex, while the lawmaker was task to consolidate more on the efforts of the APC led government in the locality to facilitate similar sporting projects that would develop the ingenious talents of adolescents in Ajegunle.

The participants harps on the need for the lawmaker to act now, when he chairs the house committee on Culture and Tourism to see how he can better their lot, owing to the rich cultural values of the Egungun festival among other cultural norms and values in traditional towns in the council area to create a centre of tourist attraction which will have attendant effect on the economy of the local government.

They however urged the lawmaker to use the opportunity of the concentration of  Non-Governmental Organizations {NGO}in the area to further orientate and re-orientate the younger generations in the grassroots, in collaboration with the local government, schools, institutions, religious bodies, traditional rulers, Community Development Associations {CDA}, and other stakeholders in the community.

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