By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Major stakeholders in the fight against substance abuse yesterday met in Abuja, to rub minds on better strategies to curb drugs abuse in the country.
The stakeholders who were part of the discussions included; Wife of the Vice President, MTN Foundation, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), traditional rulers and religious leaders.
Others are; security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and students.
The event organized by MTN in collaboration with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), was meant to engage stakeholders on fresh ideas needed to stamp out drug abuse in the country.
Speaking at the event themed; “Justice for Health, Health for Justice: Working Together for a Drug Free Nation”, the Chairman of the MTN Foundation, Julius Adeluyi-Adelusi, said “it is not enough to worry about substance abuse, but to do something about it. We need to provide hope, support, change and love to those involved in substance abuse.”
He said as the world mark International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the stakeholders should device ways of ending substance abuse in the country.
“We must step up sensitization, to educate the young ones about the effects of substance abuse. The stakeholders should also see it as a national emergency that requires urgency to safeguard the future of our children.
“All the partners must ensure teamwork, knowing that the government alone cannot address it. We at MTN are taking the lead because we want our society to be free of drug and better lives for our children.
Speaking about MTN’s Anti- Substance Abuse Project (ASAP), the Chairman said ASAP is a multi -stakeholder initiative to deliver interventions that contribute to significant reduction in the rate of first time users of addictive substance and drugs among young Nigerians aged between 10 and 25 years.
“Project ASAP in the first phase has been designed for implementation in six states; Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Bauchi and Imo through an integrated multi-sectoral approach from December 2018 to July 2019.
“Subsequent the project will adopt a multi-faceted format of: direct engagement, digital empowerment, stakeholders collaboration and media advocacy.”
Also speaking, wife of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, expressed worry over the level of drug abuse in the country.
She said the substance doesn’t know age, tribe and religion. “Mothers all over the country are crying over the involvement of their children in drug. We must work together to put smiles on their faces. We must increase the campaign against substance abuse to better our society.
She further called on all stakeholders to contribute their quota to help the country win the way on drug abuse.