Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked wives of state governors to step up their campaign against drug abuse and illicit substance use prevalent among the country’s youth.
The President gave the charge at the Presidential Villa on Saturday night when he broke fast with the wives of governors who visited under the auspices of the Northern and Southern Governors Wives Forum.
While commending them for their work on behalf of Internally Displaced Persons, he urged the state first ladies not to relent in creating awareness on the negative impact of substance abuse.
He commended Professor Moji Christianah Adeyeye, Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for a job well done.
Buhari pledged to canvass more support for the governors’ wives through the Central Bank to take advantage of the anchor borrowers scheme to boost local agriculture.
“I appreciate the role you are playing as your work helps in pricking the conscience of the people,” the President said.
“I want to encourage you to interface with Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Agriculture over new and existing opportunities that women farmers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of,” he stated.
Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, underscored the complementary role that wives play in supporting the programmes and policies of their husbands, urging the governors to encourage them.
She highlighted areas where their efforts are especially prominent and needed, including girl-child education, child abuse, women and youth empowerment and health promotion.
“As mothers of the states, wives of governors have the ears of women and youths; this is so because they run programmes that directly touch these categories of Nigerians,” calling on the President to support their work.
Chairperson, Northern Governors Wives Forum, and wife of the Governor of Bauchi State, Hadiza Abubakar said, apart from issues of maternal health and girl-child education, the flagship programme of the Forum deals with the prevention of substance abuse, for which they rally stakeholders to come to a holistic solution.
She commended the ban on codeine-containing cough syrups by the federal government, describing it as a major breakthrough.
The Forum, she stated, is advocating for the revival of moribund drug rehabilitation centers and the establishment of new ones in states that do not have them.
Chairperson, Southern Governors Wives Forum and wife of the Governor of Imo State, Nkechi Okorocha, said their activities take a cue from the works of Mrs Buhari’s Future Assured Programme and focus on issues of cultism, kidnapping, child labour, baby factories and youth restiveness.
She said the Forum had trained 1000 women in different skills, while 2000 school children were supported with educational materials.