By Collins Yakubu-Hammer (NAN)

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has sensitised over 400 students of the Government Day Secondary School, Masaka, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on dangers of drug abuse.

The sensitisation programme with the theme: “Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crisis” was organised by the ministry to commemorate the 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Monday in Abuja.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo in his keynote address said there were many social factors that resulted into abuse of drug.

“These include decline of family value system, peer pressure, parents not playing their roles properly and children not receiving proper guidance from parents/teachers.

“You will also agree with me that given the enormity of substance abuse in our country, the most effective tool to combat drug abuse is strengthen prevention programmes because, prevention is the best approach.

“That is why the ministry has embarked on this sensitisation campaign to teach the students and the general public about the risks of drug abuse.

“At the same time, we need to ensure that our treatment programmes are effective to help those that are already in the cycle of drug abuse,” Sani-Gwarzo said.

He urged the students, teachers and guests to see drug and substance abuse as a serious national problem, adding that drug dealers in the communities must be reported to law enforcement authorities.

He also stressed that there was the need to work together with law enforcement authorities to enforce drug laws to stem and curb the flow of illicit drugs.

According to him, there is need to strengthen regional cooperation to combat cross-border flow of illicit drugs.

“I want to make a clarion call to all our people, in particular the youth to refrain from abusing drugs and other harmful substances; it is very harmful to their health and can destroy their future.

“It is therefore very important that when we organise programmes such as this, we do so with renewed optimism and determination.

“Our youth today must rise to the challenges confronting our society and demonstrate in a tireless effort that we are serious about building a caring and drug free society,” he said.

Sani-Gwarzo was represented at the event by the Director, Legal Department, Mr Garba  Haganawega.

Meanwhile, Mr Buba Marwa, the Director-General of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in his goodwill message appreciated the ministry for collaborating with the school and the agency to sensitise the students.

Marwa, who was represented by Mr Augustine Nduka, an officer with the agency explained that there were a lot of lies, myths and misconceptions spreading on social media about drugs abuse.

“We have seen people who killed their friends and family members, because they were into drugs and illicit substance abuse.

“Bandits and terrorists also abuse drugs and such abuse blinds them from humanity and sympathy and as such they kill and slaughter people without mercy which also lead to humanitarian crisis.

“Some people do a lot of negative things as a result of drug abuse which also have negative effects on their health status.

“We are so grateful to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for the partnership and provision of laptops, computers, cooking items and training to drug abusers undergoing rehabilitation in our custody.

“To the students, your brains are still tender, if you do drug, it will destroy you and your future. Stay far away from drug abuse,” Marwa stressed.

In her remarks, the Principal of the school, Mrs Roseline Auta expressed delight on the choice of the school for the drug abuse sensitisation programme.

Auta said drug abuse was against social norms, adding that it had a devastating effect on children and the society.

“At the end of today’s programme, our people, students, youths and others will benefit maximally to make them drug free individual.”

Similarly, Hajiya Zainab Khaliel, the Founder of Youth Ambassadors Against Drug Abuse Initiative urged the students to desist from bad friends to escape from negative peer pressure.

Khaliel interactively highlighted the dangers of drug abuse explaining how some foreign and local celebrities involved in drug abuse ended their lives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that high point of the occasion was the drama presentation titled: “My Future in My Hands”, which centred on consequences of negligence of parents and drug abuse. It was acted by the students of the school. (NAN)

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