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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called on schools, parents and stakeholders to support the fight against drug abuse and trafficking. The Agency made the call at a public presentation of a student handbook on drug abuse awareness and prevention written by The Drug Salvation Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO). The Agency in partnership with the foundation will provide free copies of the book to students as a way of addressing the challenge of drug and substance abuse in schools.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd) who commended the initiative said that schools, parents and stakeholders should be actively involved in the war against drugs. According to Abdallah, "the campaign against illicit drugs will be very effective and also get down to the grass root when stakeholders are involved. Drug trafficking is a serious crime and we are improving the capacity of officers, civil society organisations, schools and parents to properly educate children and youths who are more vulnerable to drug abuse. Empowering students with free copies will drastically reduce the rate at which young people get involved in drug abuse". The NDLEA boss who was represented by the director of Drug Demand Reduction of the Agency, Mr. Baba Husseini promised to support similar programmes embarked upon by stakeholders.
The Chairman of the Drug Salvation Foundation, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo promised to make free copies of the book available to students. "We are determined to do our best to make our children drug-free. Every student must have a copy of this book because the threat of drugs is unbelievable. Drug tears families apart and this illicit trade is driven by strong cartels who are only concerned about their selfish interest" Ituah stated. He added that efforts towards sending drug barons out of the criminal trade will become brighter when children are educated to know the dangers of drug use.
Dr. Tony Rapo who reviewed the book also identified drugs as a major factor that tears families apart. In his words, "the problem of drugs has led to the breakdown of families yet the situation appears endless. We are here for what I consider the most important aspect of the war against drugs which is drug abuse prevention. I commend the NDLEA for seizing drugs and prosecuting traffickers but stopping new addicts from taking drugs is the best way to a drug-free society".
The representative of the German Consul General, Mr, Dominik Muller said that Germany has been partnering with Nigeria in the fight against drugs in the aspect of capacity building and use of dogs in drug detection. He expressed the support of the German government for the anti-drug campaign in schools and suggested the use of sports as a way of positively engaging young people to shun drug abuse.
Meanwhile, the President of the Drug Salvation Foundation, Mr. Wilson Ighodalo in his remarks said that drug abuse is a local problem that must be tackled by an aggressive campaign in schools. "Drug abuse is no longer a foreign problem. It is fast becoming a major public health issue in Nigeria. Substance abuse constitutes socioeconomic and cultural threat in our society today. This Student Handbook On Drug Abuse Awareness and Prevention being launched today is one of our strategic interventions in our collaboration with the NDLEA. Students must be provided with basic and factual information about the nature and effects of drugs for them to make informed decisions" he stated.
Present at the launch are students of Excel College, Lagos, members of the diplomatic community, members of the celebrity drug-free club and other stakeholders.