A former Chief Justice of the Federal Capital Territory Judiciary, Ishaq Usman Bello, the Coalition of Northern Groups and representative of the Kaduna State government at a graduation ceremony have frowned at the prevalence of drug and substance abuse in northern communities.
Justice Bello, who was grand patron at the graduation ceremony of medical students of Community Auxiliary School and Training Centre Tukur-Tukur, Zaria said the situation is so bad that every one must become a stakeholder and a committed actor in the struggle to free our society and our country of this hazardous and debilitating problem.
“All of us, young and old, men and women, leaders and the led, politicians and civil servants, businessmen and women, teachers and students, and people from all walks of life must get involved in this struggle to eradicate this singular menace from our midst.
“Every body in Northern Nigeria and indeed the larger Nigerian State is a stakeholder in addressing and fighting this existential problem. The authorities should be the primary responders to this challenge, and clear and resolute courses of action must be developed in every Local Government and State to deal with this menace.
“The strategies should consist of enlightenment, education, interdiction, arrest, confiscation, arraignment, rehabilitation, development of alternative and more positive lifestyles, provision of recreational facilities and development of activities for the youth, and a variety of other proactive measures to stem the tide and reverse the inordinate impact of this problem on society,” Justice Bello said.
On its part, the CNG said though it is not certain if there is an agenda behind the increase in drug addiction and substance abuse in the North, but the fact that the phenomenon has of recent been driven by outside forces and players particularly Southern traders and “pharmacists”, is a matter that requires closer scrutiny.
“All over the North, it is found that these traders are the main sources of the substances and drugs that are being brought into the region and abused by the Northern youth and that the proliferation of the trade provides proof of its profitability to these people.
“Allegations are made for instance about the linkages between the arms trade and drug trade in the North, both of which are intended to cause the disintegration of the region and bringing about its weakening from within with several implications for the region.
“First, its future leaders and citizens are incapacitated and disoriented by drugs and reduced to a state of hopelessness and stupor thereby rendering them completely useless in developing the region.
“Second, its pool of trained personnel is drained and no future replacement can be developed thereby rendering the region wholly depending on outsiders for every type of services and expertise.
“Thirdly, to deprive the North of future prospects of developing its own resources to become rich, viable and able to compete with the South, by destroying its manpower and rendering Northerners mere parasites in the country.
“Fourth, to create a situation where Northerners will not be able to resist the take over and occupation of their land through the degrading of the mental outlook of their young and impressionable population so that they cannot offer any resistance to such a prospect,” said the CNG Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman.
He warned that the mass movement of millions of people into the vast interior of the North and the permanent nature of this movement should therefore be given a serious thought and consideration by the Northern leadership before it becomes too late to do anything about it.
Responding, Barrister Aisha Ahmed Mohamed, Special Adviser to Governor Nasir Ahmed Elrufai lamented the prevalence of drug abuse among women in particular in northern societies.
She called for concerted action at community level involving every significant component of the northern society in the fight to eradicate the menace and to rehabilitate the victims.