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EKITI FIRST LADY SEEKS STAKEHOLDERS’ COLLABORATION TO CURB DRUG ABUSE

…Donates Bags of Rice to Corps Members

Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, has canvassed concerted efforts among stakeholders to focus on prevention strategies to combat the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

The First Lady made the call on Wednesday at the celebration of this year’s edition of the United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held at the conference hall of her office in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention,” and the event attracted students, teachers, health professionals, officers from the nation’s security agencies, civil society organizations and members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Speaking in her capacity as the State Champion Against Drug Abuse and the State Ambassador of War Against Drug Abuse (WADA), the First Lady urged the stakeholders “to take decisive action today, for a healthier, safer tomorrow.”

Expressing concern that drug abuse and illicit trafficking have become a global menace, Dr. Oyebanji noted that education, awareness and early prevention which she described as powerful tools in the fight against the scourge.

She said: “Drug abuse and illicit trafficking pose significant threats to our society, affecting our youth, families, and communities. Evidence shows that investing in prevention not only reduces the prevalence of drug abuse but also fosters healthier, more resilient societies. Education, awareness, and early intervention are powerful tools in this fight.

“In Ekiti State, we are committed to implementing comprehensive prevention programs that address the root causes of drug abuse. By engaging our youth, educating our communities, and providing support for those at risk, we aim to build a future free from the scourge of drugs.

“I call on all stakeholders—governments, NGOs, communities, and individuals—to join forces and prioritize prevention. Together, we can create an environment where our children can thrive, unburdened by the dangers of drug abuse.”

The First Lady brought smiles to the faces of NYSC corps members present at the event when she donated 10 kilograms bags of rice to each of them saying the gesture was to extend hands of fellowship to them in view of the economic situation.

The gesture elicited ovation from the corps members who were surprised with the unexpected gift.

In his welcome address, the Ekiti State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Sunday Aina, welcomed the attendees to the event on behalf of the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.).

Mr. Aina advocated that the war against substance abuse should not be left to NDLEA alone calling for more vigorous involvement of governments, educational institutions, corporate bodies and civil society organizations for to the preservation of the future generation.

The NDLEA boss disclosed that Ekiti is among the states in Nigeria where cannabis sativa, otherwise known as Indian hemp, is cultivated in commercial quantity hence the need to support the agency to arrest and prosecute producers and sellers of the drug.

Shedding light on the agency’s efforts in bringing culprits to justice, Mr. Aina said: “It is worthy to note that between June 2023 to June this year, out of the 250 arrested drug dealers and peddlers, 48 are females, which double the number that was recorded last year.

“The most worrisome and disturbing aspect was the arrest of a 75-year-old Audu Jibril from Oke-Asa Village, Ijero-Ekiti. The command successfully prosecuted and secured convictions for 58 Males and 7 Females, making a total of 65 convictions.”

Within the period, the NDLEA boss disclosed that the state command discovered and destroyed cannabis plantations in locations including Efon Alaaye Forest, Ara Forest reserve, Ise Forest, Isinbode Forest, Ijesa Isu Forest and Okatedo Forest in Imesi Ekiti.

He called on members of the public to always volunteer information to NDLEA that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of suspected drug abusers, traffickers and growers of drug plantations.

The guest lecturer at the event, Dr. Adedotun Ajiboye, enlisted the support of traditional rulers, religious leaders, leaders of thought and other influential perons to save the young generation from abuse of psychoactive substances which he identified as one of the

Dr. Ajiboye, a clinical psychologist, also canvassed the regulation of sale of pharmaceuticals in open shop and the implementation of evidence based programmes deliberately primed to curb abuse of drugs in the society especially among the youths.

Goodwill messages were delivered by representatives of various stakeholders present at the ceremony.

Posted in Ekiti State News Bulletin
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