…as LSHA, expert kick against it
…call for the stoppage of production
By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Intake of harmful substances among youths has been described as disruptive and capable of sending them to their grave.
The substances which have been discovered to be more prevalent among primary and secondary school students are said to be reasons for various criminal activities and vices among children and teenagers.
One of those substances is ‘Sokudaye’, as described by the Lagos State House of Assembly is a substance taken by youths to cleanse their system.
Some areas including Agege, Orile Igammu, Orile Agege, Bariga, Oworonsoki, Somolu, Yaba, Campus, Festac, Okokomaiko, Ikotun, Ejigbo, Jakande Estate, Iyana Iapaja, to mention a few are places where this incident are commonly practised. This discovery was carried out by the Committee on health, Lagos State House of Assembly, LSHA, during its oversight function.
Under the influence of this substance, these youths and children practice all sorts of vices including, rape, gambling, killing, robbery, ritualism among others. Sokudaye is one of the local herbs sold at motors parks, garages among others.
Investigations revealed that the effect of Sokudaye on youths and children is fast becoming dangerous not only to them but the entire country.
Speaking on the effect of Sokudaye on children and youths, the CEO/ Head Counselor, Attitude Development International, ADI, Dr Timi Oyebode explained that, “Drinking of harmful substances by school children is a sign of the level of emotional pain and struggle many of our young ones are going through.
“The facts remain that addiction of any sort is traceable to trauma (an inner wound/pain). Most times people use different means to suppress their trauma/inner pains, including these children.
“Trauma is “Inner Pain or Wound” that buries itself deep in our consciousness. Often a tragedy too heavy for the mind to bear; for instance Sex-too-early, Sudden death of a parent or close family or friend, Accident, Violence, Betrayal, Neglect, Abuse, Pain, Violation, Failure and many more
“Unfortunately many of these children had experienced one or more of such traumatizing situation without getting appropriate emotional support and counselling to help them handle the pain caused by these experiences and since the pain is there, they just have to look for a means to suppress it and that’s where drugs and other harmful substances come handy as they give momentarily relieve from these inner pain.
“Sadly, it means as a nation we are breeding a generation of emotionally injured children and that infers, having adults who are emotionally unbalanced and dependent on substances or what may be, for emotional support. The total man is a rounded physical, spiritual and emotional being, once a part is injured; the other parts are at risk too.
“Sadly many parents do not know the emotional status of their children, teachers are not informed and the Government seems to focus only on academics.
“To help these children and our nation at large, we need to become deliberate about meeting the emotional needs and these children. Parents should show love and be emotionally available to their children, teachers should go beyond classroom to identify and be supportive of children who are struggling or seems to be unhappy and Government should put up emotional support systems in school and communities like counselling centres, drug and substances abuse awareness campaign as well as promote extra curriculum activities for these teenagers. Religious and motivational leaders should also be involved to engage these young ones and help raise a balanced adult” she urged.
Moving the motion on the floor of the House, the Assembly called for the ban of sales and consumption of “Sokudaye” and other hazardous liquid substance in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa recognised that the law should be stringent to curb consumption and sales of these harmful substances especially when it comes to selling to youths and children.
“We should not allow children and teenagers to have access to it. What the products are being used for is different from what the producers intend them for.
“We have to stop primary and secondary school children from abusing the drugs”, we should reach out to the necessary departments in the state Ministry of Health.
“The Ministries of Information, Health and Education should embark on an awareness campaign on these products. Market women and men, as well as transport workers, should embark on a campaign against these products,” he said.
One of the members, Mr Akeem Shokunle, who moved the motion during plenary said that ‘Sokudaye was not a product, and that it is chemical.
According to him, “When this product was taken to the laboratory, it was discovered that, it is a chemical used for embalmment and that the instruction on the bottle stated that it should not be inhaled.
“The sale of harmful substance that weakens the body and poses a threat to the health of consumers is increasing in the state.
“Sokudaye is from chlorophyll. It has the capacity to destroy the central nervous system that destroys the kidney. It might be the cause of constant kidney problem in the state. The product should be banned.
“It is not a regulated product and it is not being approved. It should be banned from the system,” he said.
In an interview, a member representing Kosofe 2, Mr Tunde Braimoh said that 65 per cent of the Nigerian population is made up of active youths and that the nation needed to protect them. And if care is not taken, we will have a lame, lime and unproductive set of youths.
“It was a motion to draw the attention of appropriate stakeholders and government apparatus to the unnecessary of the population by the consumption of harmful substances by our youths and children that are not informed and who suffer the consequences of some of these substances.
“The Sokudaye substance is a chemical used to preserve dead bodies in the mortuary. Some people believe that when they take it, it will clear their internal organs, they do not know what it is capable of destroying their respiratory organs.
We need to draw attention to this by calling appropriate ministries especially the ministry of information and strategy to set up information to the secondary, primary schools, motor parks, garages, marketplaces so that they can be aware of the consequences of their indulgence in these substances.
It is also an avenue to call on the ministry of health to set up machinery send out information as to the harmful effects of the substance. And at the same time, we are also calling on the ministry of health to set up an awareness campaign on the effect of Sokudaye. The Public generally is advised to be wary and aware of the consequences of the consumption of these substances.
“When the youth consume this kind of product we will have an unhealthy workforce. We should just ban the product if it destroys the nervous system. The state Ministry of Health should empirically analyse the product”, he urged.
After the deliberation, the House then called on Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Ministry of Health and Education and NURTW to raise awareness campaign against the use of the substance.
It also called on the Governor, to call on the Lagos State Safety Commission to stop the production of Sokudaye and other dangerous substances.