Youths in Badagry on Friday came out in large numbers to march against drug abuse, insecurity and cultism to commemorate the 2021 International Youths Day in Lagos.
The occasion was tagged ‘Awareness Walk Against Drugs abuse, insecurity and cultism.’
Some youths who assembled in their hundreds at the popular Aradagun Bus stop, carried different placards with various inscriptions.
Some of the placards read, “Give us hope not drugs,” “No great future with drugs,” “Youths stop killing youths,” and “Say no to insecurity.”
Addressing the youth, Mr Abdul-Salam Ashade, the Coordinator, Olorunda LCDA chapter of National Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN), said the youth were out to wage war against drugs, insecurity and cultism.
According to Ashade, drug abuse is a major problem around the world and a scourge destroying the health of youths, preventing them from achieving their full potential.
He said the awareness walk was organised to sensitise the youth on the menace of drug abuse.
According to him, drug abuse refers to any non-medical or excessive use of drug or any substance that changes the normal operation of the mind and body.
Ashade said drug abuse remained a health hazard with significant implications to the physical, psychosocial and mental development.
He also said the Lagos State Ministry of Health had stated that the use of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, codeine, loud and streptokinase (SK) was more prevalent among youths, but common among commercial vehicles’ drivers, artisans and sex workers.
He said there was need to curb the increase in substance abuse and cultism, calling for an intervention programme to rehabilitate youths addicted to drug in order to reduce delinquent and criminal activities.
Also speaking, Mr Abiodun Yewhenu, the Coordinator, NYCN, Badagry Local Government Area chapter, noted that youths constituted 80 per cent of the crimes being committed in Nigeria.
“Today, if we look at those involved in drug abuse, cultism and senseless killing, you will discover that they are mainly youths.
“So, we are using the opportunity provided by the youth international day to talk to ourselves. Let us do our best and be good ambassadors of the youth,” he said.
Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende of the Real Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation, an NGO, urged the youth to support one another to eradicate cultism, insecurity and drug abuse.
Ogunlende also alleged that most of the senseless killings in the country were done by the youth after taking drugs.
He called on the youth to project the security of Nigeria, adding that the security of the nation starts from them.
NAN reports that the youths’ awareness walk started from the Aradagun Bus Stop to Ajagamibo market where they addressed market women on the menace of cultism, drug abuse and insecurity.
Addressing the market women, Mr David Aladeotan, the Coordinator, Badagry West LCDA Chapter, urged mothers to allow their children to learn good trade apart from going to school.
Aladeotan urged them to train their children not to engage in drug abuse and cultism.
The awareness walk also took the participants to the palace of Oniworo of Iworo, Oba Oladele Kosoko, where they were addressed by the traditional ruler.
Also, at the palace, Mr Sesi Whingan, the Founder of Sesi Whingan Foundation, an NGO, said although the youth were regarded as future leaders but the recent killing and drug abuse by the youth were becoming unbearable.
Whingan also said all the illegal drugs being consumed by the youth were responsible for their misbehavior and lack of respect for constituted authority.
In his remarks, Oba Kosoko, said there should be synergy between traditional rulers and youths on how to arrest the scourge of drug abuse and cultism.
He commended the youth for creating the awareness, adding that his office would collaborate with them to check the social vices.