The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, has identified drug abuse and cultism as major causes of crime among youths in his domain.
Achebe, who was at a drug awareness symposium in Onitsha recently, said most of the youth-related crimes were engineered by the consumption of illicit drugs and bad company, warning parents to ensure strict monitoring of their children.
The monarch, who declared open the symposium organised by a non-profit organisation, Come Alive Initiative, commended the initiators of the symposium and their efforts in rehabilitating victims, and urged that the symposium be sustained to assist victims and to reduce crime in the area.
The national coordinator of the organisation and organiser of the symposium, Mr Victor Enwezor, raised the alarm over excessive consumption of drugs and harmful substances by the youths.
Enwezor said the development had posed socio-economic challenge in the development of Onitsha communities.
He condemned the open consumption of illicit drugs, and a situation where some people also serve it at ceremonies in place of kola nuts.
“These things are now taken in the open and nobody seems to want to talk about it or take corrections about it. We need to begin to expose some of these things unless we want to continue to live in illusion,” he said.
He called on the government to resist the temptation of legalising hard drugs and other substances, saying that security agencies and the judiciary should rather be equipped and funded to tackle inducement of officials by drug barons.
Enwezor said his organisation has in the past three years succeeded in rehabilitating 28 drug addicts, while 11 others were currently undergoing treatment.
The event was attended by heads of security organisations, including the police, Directorate of State Services (DSS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).