Lagos State government on Tuesday said it has concluded plans to stage a 1,000-man walk against drug abuse and raise awareness on its inherent danger, especially among youths.
The government stated that the action was in a bid to step up its campaign against all forms of drug abuse in the state.
Agboola Dabiri, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, who disclosed this in Alausa, Ikeja, ahead of the launch of a renewed campaign, Lagos State Kicks Against Drug Abuse (LASKADA), said the government was leaving no stone unturned in its effort to dissuade youths who are prime victims of the practice.
According to him, the campaign would adopt a tripartite approach, including events, engagements with stakeholders and awareness campaign, adding that it would be flagged off by a 1,000-man symbolic walk against drug abuse in the state.
In a related development, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, wife of Lagos State governor, said women must use their strategic position as builders of the home to adequately fortify their children and wards with right virtues to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in the society.
Speaking at a special Lagos Women Forum at Police College in Ikeja put together by her office, she said as coordinators of the family unit, women have the responsibility to bring up their children in most decent ways and be good examples to them.
“We as women have a great role to play in combating the social evils of rape and teenage pregnancy. Our natural role as mothers and coordinators of the family unit imposes responsibilities on us, to bring up the boy and the girl child in the most decent way, to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in our society.”
Dabiri added that the walk holding on Thursday, June 21, would commence from Ikeja Bus Stop (under the bridge) and terminate at the Blue Roof, LTV, Agidingbi, where the official launch of LASKADA would take place.
He said participants at the walk would include students, sports men and women, members of non-governmental organisations, local government and youth representatives, local youth council representatives, faith-based organisations, government functionaries, among others.
“What we want to do on Thursday is to launch this campaign and show that we are ready for war against all forms of drug abuse.
“Once we launch out, we are going to have series of activities on various platforms and we will employ every avenue to ensure that the campaign gets to every nook and cranny of the state,” he said.
Dabiri added that the campaign would also involve a stakeholders’ sensitisation session to deliberate on the menace and proffer likely interventions to tackle the issue holistically.
“The stakeholders will include parents, youths, professional bodies including pharmacists, National drug law enforcement Agency (NDLEA), psychiatrists, traditional medicine board, patent medicine sellers, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), tricycle and motorcycle riders unions, and a communiqué would be issued at the end of the session.”
He said the campaign train would also move to educational institutions, as well as communities, adding that it would be implemented in collaboration with the Lagos State Youth Ambassadors, Lagos State Youth Parliament and non-governmental organisations.
The commissioner said religious and faith-based organisations would be implored to dedicate a day to enlighten worshippers on drug abuse and canvass support for the fight against the menace.
“The youth group is the largest population in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State and this segment is considered the most vulnerable group as far as drug and alcohol issues are concerned.
“Thus, their health and optimal development is critical to national development agenda and deserves significant attention. Drug abuse is real and we should not fold our arms and watch the scourge continue, partner with us and lets all say ‘No to Drug Abuse’,” Dabiri said.
Mrs. Idiat Adebule, the deputy governor, in her keynote address, commended Mrs. Ambode for the initiative to gather women together for the purpose of enhancing their welfare and health, saying the strategic importance of women in the society could not be over-emphasised.