To restore sanity to the educational sector and teach youths to emulate reputable role models who have served the nation credibly, Shalom Vineyard Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, initiated “Youth & Passion”, a programme designed to sensitize and educate young people from across the country. Here, the Executive Director of Shalom Vineyard Initiative, Ms.Judith Eyegho, cum Chairperson/Producer, Youth & Passion, speaks about the programme. Hear her:

About the programme
Youth & Passion is designed to mould the lives of young people, so as to make them better future leaders who will be focus and dynamic in carrying out leadership roles. We are concerned about shaping youths who will stand firm to defend the integrity of this nation, youths who will say ‘No’ to drug abuse and illicit trafficking of any substances, youths who will say ‘No’ to any form of crime and immorality, youths who will emulate good character and participate in sustainable development projects in the land.

Judith Eyegho
Judith Eyegho

Societal decay
It’s sad that our society is in a state of decay while anti-social behaviours amongst the youths seem on the increase. Anti-socials such as cultism, violence, drug abuse and trafficking, are becoming global problems. The rapid spread of youth involvement in drug trafficking and the use of hard drugs in Nigeria too, is overwhelming. Today, a wide variety of drugs are commonly abused all over the world. Hard drugs such as cocaine, heroine, cannabis and opium, of which youths are more vulnerable, have also spread their roots to our children who sometimes practice cigarette smoking through the wrapping of paper.

“Youth & Passion” is therfore  very much concerned about creating awareness on drug abuse and other social vices common amongst young people. Hence, the programme is targeted at students and pupils to enlighten them on the dangers inherent in drug abuse, drug trafficking and other vices. To successfully achieve this, in all of our programmes, we invite guest  speakers from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency- NDLEA, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control- NAFDAC, educationist and social workers to address  students on topical issues.

Lack of proper education
The issues of drug abuse/addictions, drug trafficking and other form of vices, their  effects on the individual and the society, cannot be over emphasized. From indications, they could be  traced to the lack of proper education on their effects. Research shows that youths are more prone to crime because they are usually being used either as political thugs, higher assassins, for armed robbery, violence, and various crimes  under the influence of drugs. Sadly, most youths are either ignorant or lack vital information about the dangers of the substances they are being introduced to by their peers. The side effect of these substances therefore make them indulge in heinous crimes.

Dangers of hard drugs
Drug trafficking could hamper the development of any Nation. In most cases, it has led to the death of the trafficker when swallowed or provoked sanctions on a nation. It was actually because of this critical analysis and research that we started our quarterly programme six years ago in collaboration with the Silverbird Cinemas where the recording takes place, to sensitize young people. For the first quarter this time, the programme will comprise different schools from across Lagos State, and it is expected to feature guests from all works of life. It will also produce two episodes which will be aired.

The programme is targeted at young people in the society, ranging from age six to thirty-five years of age, and parents. Government indirectly benefits from it in both ways, as it helps to enlighten the citizenry on the dangers and effects of drug abuse/trafficking and how they could hamper national development.

I’m a graduate of Sociology from the University of Abuja, currently running a Master programme in Public and International Affairs-MPIA at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

I’m passionate about good governance. I’m therefore a social crusader and an advocate for youth empowerment, with focus on leadership management and entrepreneurial skills for self-development.

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