Officials of the Nigeria Police Force have organised a one day sensitisation programme for secondary school students against peer pressure, cultism, and drug abuse in Lagos.
The event, which was jointly organised by the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) and the Nigeria Policing Programme was held at Oriwu Model College, Ikorodu on Wednesday.
EduCeleb.com reports that the PCRC was founded in 1984 to foster good relationship between communities and the Nigeria Police. That was towards improving and promoting community safety/security partnership and a peaceful and crime-free society.
Its partner, the Nigeria Policing Programme is a British government funded development initiative to address the destructive menace of cultism in schools in Lagos State.
PCRC regularly organises community-based advocacy and support to promote peaceful coexistence of diverse constituents of communities.
This maiden edition of the school-based campaign against drug abuse and cultism is a step in that direction.
Speaker after speaker emphasised the importance of taking a stand against negative behaviours capable of tarnishing one’s image.
The first lecture delivered by Joy Shokoya focused on peer pressure. Students were warned against the negative impact of bad company on their lives.
While noting that peer pressure could be either positive of negative, the psychosocial counsellor at the Mirabel Centre urged the students to always be ready to say ‘no’ in the face of negative peer influence.
In her words, “it is important for students to have an understanding of self. Knowing who they are, knowing their values and beliefs and having a strong self confidence and an understanding of who they are so that if they face peer pressures, they can be assertive in being able to say ‘no’ to peer pressure where they face it.”
Another guest lecturer, Afolabi Eyitayo focused on drug abuse in the topic “Consequences of abusing drug.”
He identified that such drug intake gives a person pleasure and there is a desirable effect to it. He classified drugs into licit and illicit.
Each classification is determined relative to the law in each country or state. Among largely licit drugs, according to the Founder of Beacon Health Advocacy Foundation, are tobacco, alcohol, methylphenidate, raphnol, tramadol, benyline, codeine, on the condition of prescriptive usage.
On the other hand, he said that drugs like marijuana, cocaine, pentazocine are illicit irrespective of quantity of usage.
Dr Eyitayo who is a mental health practitioner added that drug abuse had both medical and psychosocial effects on takers.
Using the use of tobacco as in instance, he said that such intake damages the entire body.
“It can cause a lot of harvoc to the body starting with the eyes. It can cause complications leading to blindness and could also affect the heart by causing cardiomyopathy. It can cause heart attack or cardiovascular accident otherwise called heart attack.
“It can also cause intermittent blood blockation where people don’t have sufficient supply of blood to the vessel in their legs. It can damage the liver, the kidney, lacerosis, panthatiachy, or anticatinoma. Ultimately, is lung cancer, which is seen as death sentence for anybody that has that.
On the psychosocial effects, he added that drug abuse would make people abandon their life goals such schooling and working.
“A student who is an A-grader would suddenly be found at the bottom of the class. You find out what is going on, you would see that he doesn’t spend that reading anymore. His attention has been taken away by the drugs.
“Such a person becomes a social miscreant in the society as a thug or an armed robber. Because they drop out of school, they become unemployed. Then, such an individual is prone to poverty. Their relationship with people generally is also affected.
“You see people fighting because they are angry. It also cause mental illness like psychosis, depression, undue anger, and all that. It also results in violence, which leads to such people being incarcerated and that would be the end of their career. The end point is death.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Lagos State Chairman of the PCRC, Oba Momodu Afolabi Ashafa noted that the event was significant in the quest to address the scourge of cultism in Lagos schools. He promised that the initiative would be spread across other parts of Lagos soon.
Students promise to stay away from drug abuse, cultism
Student participants, who were drawn from across schools within the Education District 2 of Lagos expressed delight about the event and promised to abide by lessons therein.
Zulfa Olatunde of Ansarudeen Grammar School, Ikorodu said she would not use drugs because “it takes away your personality.”
Adebayo Rachel of Oriwu Model College promised not to use drugs because it could spoil her career.
For Anichebe Emmanuel, the drive not to abuse drugs is for him to be successful.
“I don’t want to use drugs because I want to be successful in life. Drugs could disturb my life,” he said.
Participants were drawn from within and around the Education District 2 where the event held. Prominently represented was traditional chiefs who represented the Ayanguren of Ikorodu, teachers of students from participating schools and members of the public.