National Youths Service Corps has lamented the increasing rate of drug abuse and addiction among corps members in Nigeria.
Speaking on Wednesday (today) at the 2021 corps employers workshop in Akure, Ondo State capital, the state Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs Victoria Ani, said most corps members are now into serious drug intake.
She feared that the ugly development will continue to ruin the life of the corps involved if NYSC management fails to urgently address the situation.
TRUETELLS NIGERIA reports that the coordinator appealed to the employers of the corps members to assist in rehabilitating the youths rather than rejecting them.
The stakeholders who attended the workshop had earlier complained that many corps members deployed in their establishments for places of primary assignment engaged in various acts of drug abuse and smoking of weeds (Indian hemp).
In reaction to the lamentation, Ani said, “For the Corps members that take weeds(Indian hemp), I need to let you know that NYSC is doing so much. Many of our children (corps members) are drug addicts. I am talking out of the experience. When we are in the orientation camp, we tell them that if they were into it, it was an opportunity for them to drop such habits.
“In this our very last orientation, we had one that was suffering from withdrawal syndrome. We were managing this boy and he was eagerly wanting to take more. As a matter of fact, when we are going to the orientation camp, we take so many collaborative agencies including NDLEA, counsellors, people who help talk to the ones that are really into drugs.”
She added, “I never knew that this TomTom (sweet) when you put it inside Coca-Cola, it will make you high. I never knew that when they hold a Lacaserra bottle, you won’t know that the content is not Lacaserra. Even known seasoning cubes that you and I use in cooking., these children will put it inside Lacasera, drink it and they are high.
“In the scheme, we counsel them, talk to them every morning. Another female corps member brought over one hundred tablets of Diazepam drugs to the camp. So the issue of drug abuse is getting alarming. Some will wake up at midnight shouting and disturbing others.
“We keep telling them that if they are into drugs, they should drop it outside before entering the orientation camp within three weeks, and once they could achieve that, they could live a normal life. So when you have such in your employment, please let them become your own children, help them because so many of them are into drugs, that is the truth.”
Represented by the Director, NYSC South West Area office, Mr Tunde Fadairo, the Director-General of the corps, Brig. General, Shuaibu Ibrahim, spoke against employers approving letters of leave or travel permits to the corps, saying it was only the state coordinator that could do so.
He called on employers to continue to carry corps members along in their respective workplaces with priority given to their safety.
Ibrahim added: “In the course of primary assignment, which is the second phase of the service, employers are expected to make statutory welfare provisions for the corps members. Before commencement of orientation course, corps employers are expected to submit requests for corps members stating the number, discipline and other specifications that will assist the scheme in carrying out postings to places of primary assignment.
“I wish to remind you of a subsisting circular from the Federal Government which prohibits rejection of corps members by government’s MDAs,” the DG stated.