Ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse, over 200 mentally challenged and drugs addicts at the Mallam Nigger Rehabilitation Centre, Rigasa, Kaduna, on Wednesday participated in a five-kilometre walk to raise awareness on the dangers of drugs abuse.
The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is marked annually on June 26.
The theme for 2019,“Health for Justice,Justice for Health” is to highlight that justice and health are two sides of the same coin when it comes to addressing drug problems.
Speaking at the event, Mallam Lawal Muduru, the Chairman of the centre, stressed the need for more sensitisation and awareness on the dangers of drug abuse and other harmful local substances.
“The aim of the endurance trek is to raise more awareness to youths living in communities on the harmful effects of drugs, especially as youths and some children from the ghetto and slums are susceptible to such bad habits.
“We need to sensitise our youths, women and elders in the community on all dangers related to illegal use of drugs.
“Many youths are becoming lunatics due to hard drugs and this is as a result of lack of awareness; we are out today to take the campaign to many places,’’ he said.
Muduru said the centre would spend one week to take the campaign to schools, stadium, community and women organisations as well as meet with youths directly involved in drug related issues.
According to him, the centre which was created in 2006, has transformed over 2500 mentally challenged persons, drugs addict and other adults with `spiritual attacks ’ into entrepreneurs.
“This is to aid them become self-reliant,” he said.
He called on governments, NGOs and CSOs to be more committed in the fight against drugs abuse in the society.
He also urged agencies saddled with the responsibility of checking drug abuse to put more effort toward tackling the circulation of illicit drugs in the country.
According to Muduru, tougher punishment for drug traffickers should also be put in place.
Also, Maryam Yusuf, an inmate of the centre, said: “Our joy is to see that there is a reduction in drug abuse among youths in the country.’’
She urged states and Federal Government to support the centre with necessary learning materials and facilities for the rehabilitation of inmates.