By Muhammad Lawal
The Northern Governors Wives Forum on Friday appealed for collaboration of all stakeholders to curb the menace of drug abuse among youths in the region.
The forum’s Chairperson and wife to Gov. Nasiru el-Rufa’i of Kaduna State, Hajiya Hadiza Isma-el-Rufa’i, made the plea during a courtesy visit to Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State in Government House, Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
She said the call became imperative in view of the negative consequences of drug abuse to socio-economic, peace and development of any society.
The governor’s wife stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to put an end to drug abuse and trafficking towards building a sound and productive future society.
Isma-el-Rufa’i said: “Your Excellency, on behalf of the Northern Governors Wives, I would like to say that we are really happy to be here with you, this has been a long time in coming because we ‘ve been planning to have this for a long time.
“The Northern Governors’ Wives Forum is a forum whereby we meet regardless of party affiliation to discuss issues that we have in common in Northern States.
“As a result of that, we pick certain key things that are of paramount concern to us.
“Though, we have so many problems in the country but we decided that one of our main concern should be drug abuse which is bedevelling us all over the country particularly in Northern Nigeria.
“We thought we should come together regardless of party affiliation and see what we can do.
“We are really happy to see the work that had already been done by Her Excellency in that regard and to hear about what she will do in future, all of us in our different states are doing something towards that.”
In her speech, the Chairperson, Nigerian Governors Wives Forum and wife of Ekiti State Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi said the forum was established as a support platform to all governors’ wives across the country irrespective of party affiliation or section.
She recalled that in the year 2020, they came together to work on Gender Based Violence (GBV), which was an issue of common concern to all across the country.
“The first thing we did at that time was to approach the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to seek for their help and support to declare state of emergency against Gender Based Violence.
“We are very happy Your Excellency sir, you have declared state of emergency.
“As at June 2020, 14 states signed into law GBV Bill and as at Aug. 2022, 31 states have passed that law. This was as a result of the hard work and pressure the governors’ wives are mounting on their husbands both individually and collectively.
“So, I want to say on behalf of Nigerian Governors Wives, thank you very much sir for the support.
“I also want to thank you for the support you have been given to our dear sister to contribute in whatever way she can to the success of your administration and humanity at large.
“As Nigerian Governors’ Wives, we are mothers of our states and people expect us to respond to every issue important to our communities, we can’t do everything but we can do something,” she said.
While describing the efforts of the Northern Governors Wives who had been working on drug trafficking and drug abuse as apt, Fayemi said the Southern Governors’ Wives too key into the fight.
This, according to her, has culminated into a national programme of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum.
Earlier, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, wife of Kebbi State Governor, recalled that under her programme 300 teachers were trained in the unpluged programme, empowered the youths with skills to be able to say no to gender violence, sexual abuse and other forms of abuses.
She said they were in Kebbi to commission a programme which was introduced by their partners, UNODC aimed at engaging the youths in sports and other recreational activities to drift their minds from drug abuse and other forms of abuses.
Responding, Gov. Bagudu, who appreciated the Governors Wives Forum for their foresight and for considering Kebbi worthy of hosting the programme, also pledged more support for the project.
He, however, identified resources as one of the major problems in meeting the needs and aspirations of people, hence the need for government to borrow money for developmental projects.
While thanking the governors’ wives for taking up the challenge of mobilising the youths and discharging their roles as mothers and leaders, the governor described the forum as a tool of motivation for numerous other women.
Bagudu noted that drug abuse had become a national problem that needed to be tackled collectively.
He said: “Forum like this can help in advancing and finding common solution.” (NAN)