With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
Their presence was well concealed under the canopy of darkness that
enveloped the environment, but the obnoxious odour emanating from
their hideout easily gave them away. The atmosphere was saturated
with the pungent smell competing with the fresh oxygen for my
nostrils. The effect hit me hard and the only alternative was to get
out of the area and resultantly, I quickened my pace and only heaved
sigh of relief when the smell thinned out to a tinging sensation in my
nose. That was my experience Saturday night at Olorunsogo area of
Ilorin, Kwara State on my way home after the close of work. The
experience further reinforced the eerie feeling of the danger staring
us in the face in the state where drug abuse particularly among youth
is now rife. This problem has such become malignant and has become
major source of concern. I recall a similar experience sometime last
year that made me pen down a piece and months after the situation has
not changed. Below is excerpt of the write up.
My desire to relish meat berbecue took me to a favourite ‘Suya’ spot
along Geri-Alimi road, Ilorin, Kwara State, Saturday night. My
ten-minute wait while the ‘Mallam’ garnished and packaged the smoked
beef brisket for me, opened my eye to the fact that Ilorin, the state
capital is sitting on keg of gun powder. How do I mean? From every
direction emerged young people both male and female, whom no one
needs an addiction specialist to tell that they were inebriated with
hard substance. The tell tale was written all over them; their
appearance and mannerism were symptomatic of their drug addiction. Of
great concern is the fact that most of these people fall into the age
bracket of between 18 and 40. Mostly abused are opioids like tramadol
and codeine. Sadly, the dangers of drug abuse of all sorts confront us
every day on the roads, at the workplace, in schools, even at our
homes among others. Despite the fact that abuse of drug is not
beneficial, most of the abusers don’t realize just how dangerous it
can be to them and the society at large. Aside the fact that drug
abuse poses danger to the health such as kidney damage , seizures,
mental psychosis-delusion, hallucination, and even schizophrenia, the
security of community where it is rampant, is threatened. Most social
crimes such as public disturbance, cultism, rape, burglary, robbery,
postitution etcetera are functions of drug abuse. The issue of drug
abuse among youths in the state particularly Ilorin, the state
capital is a sad narrative, which calls for urgent step to stem the
It would be recalled that about two years ago a group of secondary
school students in Ilorin, organised an Indian hemp carnival. They
even had the audacity to print flyers to create awareness for their
herrondous expedition, which however served as their undoing because
they were rounded up by the police during the ungodly ceremony.
However, up till now the ugly trend of drug abuse, which has been
widely attributed to youthful exuberance, has continued unabated.
This unwholesome habit, no doubt, is fast destroying the lives of
potential future leaders. Peer pressure is also a contributory factor
to drug abuse among the youths. Idleness among youth could easily make
drug addiction a fascinating option.
It is however high time an end is put to this sad development, which
is fast casting a bad image on the ancient city of Ilorin, which is
referred to as cradle of Islam in the country. Hence, the need for
government to declare a state of emergency on drug addiction. It is
important to however state that government alone cannot do it.
Stakeholders in the society must also brace up to the challenge for
sanity in our society.
The role of parents in fighting this social crime cannot be undermine.
This is because it is believed that decline of family value systems,
parents not playing their roles properly, children and youth not
receiving proper guidance, social media influence, poverty and
unemployment are causative factors of drug abuse and addiction among
youths. Therefore, it pertinent for parents and guardians to spend
time to inculcate moral values in their children/ wards. For no
reason should parents neglect their role in the proper upbringing of
their children. It is only when parents spend ample time with their
children that they could really notice negative vices and traits in
them and quickly nip such in the bud.
Similarly, public enlightenment campaigns on the harmful effects of
drug addiction must be stepped up by NGOs, community and religious
leaders, traditional rulers, among others. Relevant stakeholders must
continue to enlighten the youth on the evils of drug addiction. It is
imperative that younger ones are made to understand the dangers that
drug addiction pose to their health and future before they are exposed
to peer influence in later years. This can be achieved if such is
incorporated into school curriculum.
Also, the NDLEA and other similar law enforcement agencies must step
up the clampdown on the production and illicit trafficking of banned
substances. As long as these substances remain in circulation, the
youths will always be tempted into consuming them. The campaign
against drug abuse should also be taken to motor parks, as
transporters and commercial motorcyclists are said to also indulge in
intake of hard substances to get ‘high’, which put the their lives
and that of their passengers at risk. The state House of Assembly must
rise to the occasion by coming up with bills that can help check the
menace of drug abuse among youths in the state.
Given the enormity of the damage of drug addiction to mankind, no
effort should be spared to curb its heinous effect on youth and the
society at large. All hands must be on deck to fight drug abuse and
addiction in Kwara.