September 1, 2020

Lagos Assembly asks Sanwo-Olu to take anti-drug campaign to schools

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

The Lagos State House of Assembly has passed a motion calling on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to immediately embark on anti-drug campaign programmes in secondary schools.

The House made the resolution following the motion by Mr Desmond Elliot (Surulere I) during plenary on Monday.

The motion was titled “A Call on the Lagos State Government to embark on Anti-drug Corruption Campaign in Secondary Schools in the state”.

Elliot said the House observed an increasing rate of drug abuse and alcohol consumption among students of secondary schools.

He said:“It was observed that such an experiment with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco sometimes started from elementary schools and peaked in high schools where its adverse effect is remarkably high on the students.

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“It was further observed that the unrestrained abuse of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other prohibited drugs used by the students hinder their educational attainment and leverage on vices such as gangsterism, gang rape, and cultism.”

He also stressed the need to embark on sensitisation campaign programmes on the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco among the students and its attendant harmful effects as schools are about to reopen after forced closure occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elliot urged the House to call on the Chairman, Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, to carry out strict enforcement against the sale of drugs around school premises.

The lawmaker added that the House should also mandate the Committees on Education and Legislative Compliance to ensure that the relevant agencies complied with the Resolution of the House.

He also urged the State Commissioner of Police to keep watch on school environment and direct his men to ensure that no drugs were sold around school premises.

“We should also have anti-drug societies in schools. Parents are also called upon to keep watch on their children to reduce the usage of drugs in our society,” he said.

In his contribution, the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, also said that the way the youths took to drugs was worrisome.

Obasa said the House should look at the Child Rights Law and make necessary amendments to it.

“The school authority can go round to check the students. We cannot stop people who sell items around schools, but it is a good move that will correct the attitude of our children in and out of schools.

“We should also be vigilant about what goes on around us. The parents should also be vigilant, they should know if their children start taking drugs.

“The parents should also be sanctioned once the children are caught. The gatemen are also culpable as they allow people to use the school premises at night.

“The government should also look into that and monitor the recruitment of security men in the schools,” he said.

Contributing, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni (Lagos Island I), said drug abuse was a worrisome issue that could destroy the lives of our youths if actions were not taken.

Eshinlokun-Sanni, who said that the prevalence of drug abuse in Lagos was above the national average, added that statistics showed that 69 per cent of youths in the state were into drug abuse.

“We were told that Tramadol, Codeine, has become a source of drug abuse by our youths. A Nigerian artiste says that drug is like a curse and it has to be broken.

“So I also support the motion but we can expand it that the Dental Association and Pharmaceutical Association; there is quackery in the field of drugs, which has led to drug abuse,” he said.

Also, Abiodun Tobun (Epe I) said that drug addiction was a disease and once someone was addicted to it, it would become difficult to stop.

According to Tobun, it starts from elementary schools; this must stop from there.

“Many youths take drugs as enhancers, they believe that it makes them be bold and courageous. So, they need more education.

“The task force must do more on these, especially those who sell alcohol should be cautioned.

“We should identify the black spots on our streets and attack these holistically. We must curb it as these youths would take over from us,” he said.

Also speaking, Rasheed Makinde (Ifako Ijaiye II) noted that what was prevalent in the society today was the misuse of drugs.

“Misuse of drugs is common in urban areas, especially when the institutions of government are becoming neglected.

“Some of these children lack care and are over-pampered. Our youths then find themselves in activities such as rape and what have you.

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“They are given stipends and lured into these activities. You see some of these children roaming about the streets because they are out of schools,” he said.

The Majority Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade (Ikorodu II), said drug abuse was largely due to social media influence, adding that people should watch the quality of music and movies being churned out in the society.

Agunbiade noted that young people were influenced because they were exposed to musicians displaying drugs on their tables in their music videos.

“Most of our public schools do not have gates and these bad boys go there to smoke. Even some of our law enforcement agents also smoke and they cannot caution the children.

“There is also a lack of parental care, which is affecting the children. The lockdown also contributed to it because most parents don’t even know where their children are. We did a similar thing in the 8th Assembly,” he said.

After several other contributions on the issue by members, the House unanimous adopted the motion through voice votes.

The speaker, therefore, directed that the governor should ask his commissioners for Education, Information and Strategy, Youth and Social Development, and other relevant agencies to embark on the campaign programmes against drug abuse in schools.