Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, has called on parents to intensify efforts at ensuring moral upbringing and education of their children so as to protect them against drug abuse.
She made the call at pro-democracy day activities to commemorate the June 12 Democracy Day with the theme: “Drug abuse among children: Addressing the challenges.”
The wife of the president who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, assured the children of her determination to support every course towards ensuring that they achieve their full potential including the fight against drug abuse among them.
She said: “We are determined to address drug abuse which portends a threat towards achieving your full potential.”
The wife of the president further enjoined the parents to prioritise the education of their children as well as encourage them to concentrate on their education, adding that it was the surest way to achieve a brighter future.
Mrs. Buhari also enjoined members of the media to get involved in the campaign against the spread of drug abuse among women and children in Nigeria.
The chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, Gen. Buba Marwa (retd) also expressed the need for parents to take a bold step towards identifying and dealing with drug abuse among their children.
He told the audience that his committee had made provisions on its recommendations for Federal and state governments to collaborate to check and deal with drug-related abuses in primary and secondary schools across the country.
He advised government to do more in the areas of counselling, rehabilitation and skills acquisition programmes for the victims of drug abuse.
“Parents must be good role models for their children; parents must seek medical support for their drug-addicted children before things get worse.
“During the course of our assignment, we find out that about 15 million persons engage in drug abuse. So, out of this figure, about 160 million people have not engaged in drug abuse.
“So, we must put a strategy in place to track the production and supply line as well as punish perpetrators of suppliers of illicit drugs.
“As you all know, Tramadol is scarce because government banned its production and sells,” he said.
Marwa said, lack of parental care was one of the major reasons why children engaged in drug abuse.
He said Nigeria is capable of dealing with the spread of drug trafficking and abuse among children.
He added that the country witnessed a drastic decline in the proliferation of illicit drugs due to the efforts put in place by the drug law enforcement agencies and the committee to ensure the elimination of the menace.
The former Lagos State military administrator assured that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was determined to deal with the menace of drug abuse in Nigeria.
Members of Nigeria children parliament, on their part unanimously agreed to the fact that the way forward was for government was to create more awareness and establish more rehabilitation centres especially in the rural areas for proper counselling of the victims.
The children kicked against the stigmatisation of the victims and called for a synergy between the teachers and the children through teaching of the dangers of drug abuse.
They also urged the government to engage in media campaign to enlighten the children on the dangers of drug abuse.