By Chiazo Ogbolu
MTN Nigeria on Friday said that there was the need to combat the deadly scourge of substance abuse in the country.
The Chairman, MTN Foundation, Mr Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, said that MTN Nigeria had embarked on a campaign with industry experts to see how substance abuse would be eradicated in the country.
“In furtherance of the drive to curb the increasing rate of substance abuse in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, under the Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) led a multi sectoral roundtable on the substance abuse ecosystem in Nigeria.
“There is also the need for intensified collaborative action among industry experts to fight this scourge.
“The forum held in Lagos was part of the Lagos State activation of the ASAP aimed at reducing the incidence of substance abuse among youths in Nigeria,’’ he said in a statement.
Adelusi-Adeluyi, said that the purpose of the campaign was to stimulate discourse among leaders of thought, policy makers and leaders from different walks of life.
He noted that the campaign would bring experts much closer toward the goal of freeing Nigeria’s future leaders from the evil attraction of drugs and possible addiction to opioids.
The Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr Jide Idris said that education on substance abuse was very essential.
“We all can take time to educate ourselves and others about the harmful nature of these substances.
“Education on the impact that these drugs and substances of abuse have on the individual and the society as a whole should be taught and understood,’’ Adelusi-Adeluyi said.
Mr Agboola Dabiri, Commissioner for Youth & Social Development, Lagos State, said that there was the need to remind the youth of their strategic place in nation building.
“The youth are the future of Nigeria; they have a lot to give. When we speak of the next level, you are the next level,’’ he said.
Dabiri said that on the issue of substance abuse and the ASAP initiative, “the issue of drug abuse is no longer on the roads; it is now within our homes’’.
He thanked MTN for this opportunity and commended them for a job well done.
The state activation, which started with various activities in primary and secondary schools, motor parks, and markets, will continue with an advocacy walk that will culminate in counselling sessions for all interested persons.
A replication of all the activities under the ASAP initiative will be in five other states – Imo, Rivers, Kano, Bauchi and Abuja in the coming months.
The overall objective is to take the ASAP initiative to the streets of Nigeria and meet the youth in their comfort zones .NAN)