It was confession galore at the webinar recently held in commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is marked annually on June 26.
Hosted by MTN Foundation in partnership with Businessday, MTV Base and Nigerian Entertainment Today (Netng), the virtual event had in attendance the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare; Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya; Country Manager, ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Bada Akintunde-Johnson; Country Representative, United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Oliver Stolpe; Consultant Psychiatrist, Yewande Oshodi; and Director-General, Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministries, Adedokun Adedeji.
However, the highpoint of the discussion moderated by social commentator, Japheth Omojuwa, came when Nollywood stars, Ini Edo and Dakore Egbuson-Akande shared their personal encounters with drug addicts and traffickers.
According to Dakore Akande, she had a brush with drug traffickers while in the university. Hear the mother of twin-girls: “I remember when things were difficult. I was in the university and I could travel abroad at that time. Someone came up to me and said ‘oh, would you want to carry some drugs when you travel and you’ll get paid when you get there?’ I was only 21 at the time!”
Emphasising the role of parents in shaping the decisions that young people make about drugs and substance abuse, the actress said her life could have been ruined if she had succumbed to the temptation of being a drug courier.
“Due to the upbringing and discipline my parents had instilled in me, I didn’t have to run home to ask my parents what to say to the guy. I just knew that omo dat one no go happen,” she stated.
For Ini Edo, drugs are generally glorified in the entertainment industry and there’s need to use movies to show its adverse effect. “I went to a party some time ago where cannabis was being served on trays like food, and young people not older than 25 were consuming it like it was normal.”
The thespian disclosed that what young people see is the glamourous part of it all. “They may be thinking, ‘oh, I need to be high to perform’, which is probably what they see on TV and on social media, but they don’t get to see the adverse effects of abusing drugs and how damaging it can be on them.
“The National Film and Video Censors Board has a huge role to play in this. If you are telling a drug-related success story, there has to be a certain result that shows that, if you get into this type of lifestyle, this is what you are likely to get at the end of the day,” she posited.