By Emeka Nwokocha

Delta Conflict Prevent Council (DCPC) has strengthened collaboration with security agencies – Nigerian Police Force (NPF), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and leaders of Ughelli North communities to curb rising illicit drug and substance abuse among youths in Ughelli and environs.

Speaking at a one-day sensitization workshop on dangers of illicit drugs and substance abuse organised by DCPC in Ughelli North local government council secretariat, Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass, described the workshop as timely, saying that Delta State Police Command would not relent in its operations to ensure Ughelli North and the entire state is free from the menace.
CP Wale Abass, who was ably represented by the Area Commander, Ughelli, ACP Ademola Adebayo, charged youths to shun drugs and channel their energy and time to productive ventures.

Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, Consultant, Delta State Conflict Prevent Council, speaking at the event

Speaking on the danger of illicit drugs and substance abuse, ACP Adebayo admonished youths to steer clear from drugs, stating that the consequences are huge on the abusers. He expressed worry over the prevalence of drug and substance abuse among youths, saying, “If the worrisome trend is not checked, there would the consequences will be dire on the development trajectory of Delta State and Nigeria, saying that, “There will be dearth of youths with sound intellection and moral decency to drive development of society in future.”

Continuing, ACP Adebayo said, “Rather than pursue their future career, some youths take pleasure in getting addicted to drugs and endangering their lives and future. He charged community leaders to rise up to the threat being posed by illicit drug and substance abuse in the society, stating that collective efforts are needed to stem the worrisome trend.

Speaking further, ACP Adebayo expressed concern over the rising incidents of crime such as armed robbery nd kidnapping in the society, saying, “There is a correlation between illicit drug use and crime rates.

ACP Ademola Adebayo, representative of Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass, speaking at the event

He admonished parents and community leaders to take the campaign against drug and substance abuse to their respective communities, saying that the Nigerian Police would strengthen its operations to curb the menace.

In his presentation, tagged, “Moral and Value Decadence; the need for Value Re-orientation,” the lead consultant for DCPC, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, emphasized importance of good parenting in building a descent and progressive society. He charged parents not to relent in the duties of imparting good morals and values to their children and wards during their formative years, stating that homes are the foundation for grooming a child so that s/he becomes a better person in society.

Continuing, he harped on the collaboration of community leaders in tackling illicit drug and substance abuse among youths, stressing that fight against the scourge can only be won if everybody contributes his quota in sustaining the campaign against drug and substance abuse.

Pastor Egedegbe passionately thanked Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) for broaching the idea of establishing the Delta State Conflict Prevent Council geared at deepening peace in Delta State and Niger Delta at large. He noted that the benefits of PIND’s sustained commitment to promoting peace and equitable economic growth in the Niger Delta region through multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnership cannot be overemphasized.He called on other organizations and the government to replicate the legacies of PIND with regard to promoting peace in the Niger Delta region.

Chairman of Delta State Conflict Prevent Council, Dr. Andrew Agboro, speaking at the event

The Chairman of DCPC, Dr. Andrew Agboro, while speaking on ‘Orientation of Youth From Illicit Substance/Drug Abuse in Ughelli North’, said, “The goal of this event is to adopt an innovative multi-dimentional approach to tackling Illicit substance/drug abuse among the youths.

He encouraged youths to channel their energy towards creating opportunities to engender a better society and sustainable development of the state.

He said, “A society free of ‘drug criminal and abusers’ is achievable by relentlessly breaking Illicit drug supply chains and distribution networks, including discouraging drug use through intensive outreach and sensitization.”

While noting the consequences of drug and substance abuse, Dr. Agboro admonised the youths to steer clear from drugs, saying, “Abuse of illicit drugs destroys your health, your future and ‘takes away’ lives.” He added, “Don’t even touch it.”

HRM Wilson Ojakovo Oharisi  III, the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom (2nd right), Hon. Igogono, representative of Ughelli North Local Government Chairman (right), Pastor Edewor Egedegbe (3rd right), ASC, NDLEA, Silas Omobhude (2nd left), and Comrade Monday Enudi (left)

Continuing, He stressed the compelling need for value re-orientation in the families, saying, “There have to be changes at the family and community levels,” adding that, “The kind of change we seek regarding drug abuse cannot happen without the collaboration of families, faith-based organizations, including community leadership.”

Speaking further, he said, “Communities must rise to this challenge, leaders must spearhead massive value re-orientation in their respective communities, including reassessing cultural factors and systems that support drug abuse and illict substance, but not undermining the treatment/rehabilitation arm of the ‘drug war.’

Cross Section of Participants at the event

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Ughelli North Local Government Council, Hon. Godwin Adode, who was represented by the Secretary of the Council, Hon. Igogono, commended the Delta State Conflict Prevent Council for its commitment to eradicating drug and substance abuse especially among the youths. He said his administration would fully support the initiative, even as he called on all stakeholders to join hands in the ongoing campaign against drug abuse in order to make the society save and comfortable for all.

Also speaking, the state Director, Human Right Protection Congress, Comrade Monday Enudi, charged community leaders to be partners in the campaign against drug abuse, saying, “Take the good message to your communities and ensure the menace of drug abuse is tackled headlong.” He expressed the need to expand the reach of the sensitization programme to the 25 local government areas of the state and across the 3 senatorial districts of the State.

Speaking, the representative of the Delta State Commandant of NDLEA, Assistant State Commander (ASC), NDLEA, Silas Omobhude, defined drug abuse and substance abuse as the excessive or addictive use of drugs for nonmedical purposes despite social, psychological, and physical problems that may arise from such use, saying that the problem has been increasing at alarming rates, especially among young adults under the age of 30. He said, “Apart from the long term damage drug abuse causes to the body, drug addicts who use needles are also at risk of contracting HIV and other life threatening infections.

President General, Ughelli Descendants Union (UDU), Chief Pius Akpowevwe Omubaye, JP, speaking at the event

He said, the youths take hard drugs like Syrup, tramadol, cannabis sativa, Diazepam, cocaine, Colorado among others, adding that a lot of them suffer from drug use disorders, thus deepening the public health and public security challenge.

He charged youths to desist from destroying their future through addiction to drugs.

Continuing, he called on parents to dedicate more time to monitor their children and wards in their day-to-day activities and watch out for signs and symptoms of drug abuse such as the following: unusual use of dark glasses, bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils, deterioration in health, deviant behavior (stealing, lying), memory loss, difficulty in concentration, slurred or incoherent speech, indifference to personal hygiene, hostiliy, and secretiveness.

State Director, Human Rights Protection Congress, Comrade Monday Enudi, speaking at the event

HRM Wilson Ojakovo Oharisi  Oharisi III, the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom, and the President General of Ughelli Descendants Union (UDU), Chief Pius Akpowevwe Omubaye, commended Delta State Conflict Prevent Council for organizing the programme, saying it would make huge impart in curbing the increasing wave of drug and substance abuse in Ughelli and environs. They promised to support the initiative by collaborating with security agencies and relevant stakeholders to ensure Ughelli is peaceful for all residents and indigenes, and conducive for business activities.

Among the personalities present at the event were Hon. Igogono, representative of Ughelli North Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Godwin Adode; HRM Wilson Ojakovo Oharisi III, the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom, the President General, Ughelli Descendants Union (UDU), Chief Pius Akpowevwe Omubaye, JP, Human Rights Activist, Comrade Kelvin Ejumudo, Mr. Isreal Oghuvwu, President General of Ododegho Community, High Chiefs, Community Leaders, youths, and members of Human Right Protection Congress.


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