The Federal Government has urged all relevant stakeholders to work together to put an end to drug abuse among young people in the country so that they can truly become future leaders, entrepreneurs, and employable adults.
Ayodele Olawande, the Minister of State in charge of the Ministry of Youth Development, made the call yesterday, while on a business visit to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Abuja.
According to Olawande, the ministry intends to create an institution that would be called the Nigerian Youth Academy (NIYA). He claimed that to keep young people away from the temptation to abuse drugs and be involved in criminality, they would receive some training in the institution, and be involved in worthwhile activities.
The minister said that the use and abuse of drugs among youths had increased as a result of disengagement, unemployment, and the decline in technical skills. He said, "The youths are more concerned with following trends. It is now time for the youth to stop following unproductive trends and start thinking and working.”
According to Olawande, the ministry also intends to launch a door-to-door campaign that would be led by him, to engage youths in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the Federation. “We will use the corp members as a force to engage society at large, especially secondary school students, to curb drug abuse, corruption, and cybercrime,” he said.
He feels that since youths in the informal sector are adaptable and receptive to activities that may generate social unrest, society must cease to ignore them. To guarantee that the youths were fully involved, the minister called on the UN to work with the government to create the Nigerian Youth Academy.
While thanking the minister and his staff for their time, the UNODC Country Representative, Mr. Oliver Stolp, stated that the UN has many intervention initiatives addressing drug misuse, cybercrime, youth participation, and corruption. He demanded that the Nigerian government endorse these innovations.
As earlier reported by NAN, the UNODC World Drug Report 2023 warns of an impending crisis as the illegal drug markets grow.
According to the statistics, there were 13.2 million drug users worldwide in 2021—a figure that is 18% more than the previous projection. Additionally, over 296 million individuals consumed drugs globally in 2021 — a 23 percent rise over the preceding ten years.
Meanwhile, the number of people who suffer from drug use disorders, has skyrocketed to 39.5 million, a 45 percent increase over the past 10 years.