Help… help! Make our homes, streets and nation drug abuse and trafficking free!” was the proverbial Macedonian call when Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM), took to the streets to campaign against the spread of the harmful trend.
“Say no to illicit use of drug and substance… Drug kills dreams and destroys homes and society,” the charity advocated through ear-piercing speakers, and a moving human-train of hundreds of people in an awareness march to sensitise the public.
The walk, which was held to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, brought together secondary schools teenagers, youths, the middle aged and old folks. The age mix and calibre of people in the group, and inclusion of mascots in their campaign added colour and credence to the march.
In the line-up were the General Manager of Radio Continental, Mr Tokunbo Ojekunle; the General Manager of EKO FM/Radio Lagos, Mrs Ayo Sotonwa; Chairman of Graceco Nigeria Limited, Prince Yemi Adefulu; the Deputy Managing Director of ThisDay newspapers, Mr Kayode Komolafe; the Human Resources Director, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Mr Tope-Phillips Aikhuemelo; and a media executive, Mr Remi Ogunpitan and his wife. There were also representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); members of Salimo-Wits Foundation; and pupils of Dairy Farm Secondary School (Agege), Agidigbin Secondary School and B.God’s Choice Model College.
While preaching the gospel against the spread of drug and substances abuse in different languages – with some dressed in Tee-shirts having diverse inscriptions, the group members went about sharing stickers and booklet to passersby, bystanders and motorists.
That morning, the train began its walk from the MITV Compound at Alausa. It then moved through Shoprite to Lateef Jakande Road, where it stopped by at the LTV premises and then proceeded to Cadbury Nigeria Plc. It headed for the Regional Headquarters of Lagos Region 19 of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Acme Road where the walk ended.
“We cannot afford to be indifferent to this development anymore,” began the CADAM Coordinator, Dr Dokun Adedeji, as he led the campaign. “We all used to believe that drugs abuse and addiction existed in the realms of thugs, street urchins and the vicinity of motor parks. But today, many parents will be shocked by the variety of substances used by our children even within the home!”
While raising the alarm over growing drug and substances abuse, Adedeji urged that more stringent measures be put in place to curb the sale and trafficking of hard drugs. He called for more sensitisation and increased governmental support, adding that CADAM, which was established by RCCG, desires to set up a toxicology laboratory where drug testing could be undertaken along with its advocacy, counselling and rehabilitation programmes.
“We, in CADAM, are worried by the easy availability of these various drugs and substances now being used within our society. The time has come for everyone of us to wake from our slumber, nonchalance or denial. We are in dangerous times and immediate and urgent actions are required to confront this scourge that is approximating to an epidemic waiting to envelope us all.
We cannot leave the battle to NDLEA alone. Every segment of our society has a role to play. We just need to visit the drug joints littering every available space in our city centres or hospitals or even our higher institutions that have rusticated many of these young victims.”
On his part, the pastor in charge of Lagos Province 60 of RCCG Pastor Ephraim Osunde said the menace of drug abuse “is rather underestimated in our country”, observing that at the end of the campaign, “we hope that everybody who has contacted us today and asked what is going on, would go back home and reflect and ask themselves: “What is happening to our people, and what can I do?”
Osunde, also a member of the Board of Trustees of CADAM, was there with other members, including Pastor James Kehinde Owolabi, Mrs Sola Soile, Mrs Iyabo Akai and Deacon Paul Adingwupu.
Mrs Sotonwa reiterated Adedeji’s words, saying: “It is sad to see so many youths using drugs in a bad way. As we celebrate today, our nation Nigeria must be free of drugs and substance abuse: we must carry this message back to sensitise and educate others on what to do.”
Aikhuemelo of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, one of the sponsors of the event, said: “For us, as a business, this is part of our CSR to support organisations, like CADAM, who have devoted time and resources to ensure that we take out drugs completely from this nation.”
The walk was sponsored by Graceco Nigeria and Cadbury Nigeria.