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El-Rufai, Ngige Others Lament Unemployment Caused By Drug Abuse
By Chikezie Omeje
The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, has lamented the abuse of drugs and substances such as vulcanizer’s solution, codeine in cough syrups and other medications, saying that it has rendered many youths unemployable.
El-Rufai stated this in Abuja on Thursday at a one-day workshop with the theme “Substance abuse: an impediment to gainful employment” organised by the National Directorate of Employment, NDE.
The governor who was represented by the Director General, Bureau of Substance Abuse and Treatment, Kaduna, Baka Isa Saaedoun, said no employer of labour, either in private or public sector, would knowingly employ someone battling with drug addiction, stressing that over 65% of those involved in this social malaise are the youth who truly constitute the national workforce and the future of the nation.
He said, “This ugly picture is a time bomb. We must understand that the army of young people who are hooked on drugs come from the most active part of the population for whom we must provide employment opportunities.”
He called on faith-based organizations, civil society groups and the well-meaning Nigerians to work together to support the fight against mass unemployment by ensuring a drug-free youth population.
Also speaking, the Minister of Youth of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige ,noted that substance abuse leads to crime and violence.
The minister who was represented by the Director of Special Duties in the ministry, James Olusoji, stressed that substance abuse often leads the youth to become vulnerable to crime, accidents, violence, promiscuity and could cause serious health complications.
He said, “in the workplace, substance abuse has the potentials to negatively affect the health, safety, productivity of employees and consequently leading to failure in the attainment of organizational goals.”
The Editor of International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, Tajudeen Suleiman, drew attention to the urgent need to address the serious problem of drug abuse in Nigeria.
Suleiman was invited to share his experience following the publication of a two part series on “How Drug Addiction Threatens A Generation Of Northern Women” by icirnigeria.org, which he wrote.
He said the Centre’s investigation into drug abuse by women in northern part of the country revealed a serious problem that must be tackled.
Narrating a sad story of a graduate who abused codeine, he said the lady started with one bottle of codeine in a day after her boyfriend introduced her in it during her National Youth Service in Niger State.
He said the girl later graduated to eight bottles of codeines in a day and has not been able to secure a job since she graduated from the university in 2010.
Suleiman said that an increasing number of women now engage in drug abuse as discovered when security agents searched the hand bags of women at a wedding ceremony in Sokoto State where about 70% of them had codeines in their bags.
The editor said most of the women that abused codeine were led into it by friends and family members and urged parents to be more watchful about the lifestyle of their wards and the kind of company they keep.
The Acting Director-General of National Directorate of Employment, Kunle Obayan said that the seminar was organised to sensitize the public, especially the youth, on the dangers of substance abuse and its negative implications on the affected persons, the society and the economy.
He said that substance abuse was threatening the labour force, noting “the youths who are the future of the nation are hooked on the use of illicit substances such as alcohol, sedatives, depressants, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, among others.”