AN ADDRESS BY MOST REV. IGNATIUS A. KAIGAMA, ARCHBISHOP OF JOS (CHAIRMAN), AT A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION WITH PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS ON THE IMPACT OF DRUG ABUSE ON PEACE AND SECURITY, HELD AT THE DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION AND PEACE (DREP) CENTRE LOCATED IN KWANG, GOLD & BASE, RAYFIELD, JOS SOUTH LGA, ON WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY 2016
I am delighted to have you here today and to welcome you all to this round table discussion. I thank you for responding to this invitation as this is an indication of our collective desire to build a peaceful and healthy society by ridding our society of drugs and alcoholic abuse and also regain the dented image of our dear State and Jos city in particular.
I believe it is within our might with the help of God to initiate this process which will lead and culminate in the proposal of a bill against the production, sale and consumption of illicit drugs and drinks in the Plateau State House of Assembly.
This round table discussion will revolve around these three thematic areas.
PRODUCTION OF ILLICIT DRINKS AND DRUGS
Here, our discussion will seek to
- Identify the producers of these illicit drinks and drugs.
- Map out the areas and locations of production.
- Suggest means by which production can be controlled.
- Find out profitable alternatives for producers and those who engage in that illicit trade.
SALE OF ILLICIT DRINKS AND DRUGS
The goal of discussants here is to
- Identify the supply chain.
- Suggest a mechanism that will help to identify retail outlets.
- Suggest what government should do to sellers and distributors (gang leaders)in the form of Penalty).
The goals we seek from discussion on this thematic area are
- Suggest a punitive mechanism that can be developed to stop consumption.
- Suggest an institutional framework to mitigate consumption.
- Identify areas of collaboration between government/stakeholders in the rehabilitation of addicts.
- Reintegration and reengagement of former addicts.
Looking at the menace of drug abuse and the negative consequences it has on our collective peace and security as well as the impact on the health of our teaming youths, this meeting and discussion today will afford us the opportunity to reflect on the vulnerability of our youth and their involvement in crises, especially when under the influence of drugs and other intoxicants. We have all come here with the desire and the determination of rebuilding our communities and State at large by tackling this social ill of drug abuse.
Permit me to inform you that we are not alone in this struggle. Key religious and community leaders have been meeting here in DREP to discuss emerging issues that threaten our collective peace and security, and work out ways of collectively addressing these issues. One of these issues is the rampant case of drug abuse among youths in different communities within and around Jos and how it has contributed in the escalation of violence in many communities.
This therefore makes it incumbent on us to work together in preventing the spread of this social ill among youths, cutting across religious and ethnic affiliations. It calls on us all to be interested in this problem regardless of where it is prevalent and reflect on how this scourge can be curbed.
This State is full of opportunities and those of us who are leaders of thought are duty-bound of making sure that our wealth, status, knowledge and influence are used to ensure that our youths become responsible and productive in their communities and also realize there full human potential. In order to achieve this and do something wonderful for humanity, we need to create a safe and conducive environment for our youths devoid of drugs abuse.
We hope that at the end of this meeting, we will be advocating for a legal and institutional framework in the form of a bill that will address the production, sale and consumption of illicit drugs, which has contributed in worsening the security situation in our beloved Plateau State as well as posing health challenges to our youths.
I pray that we will go from here feeling fulfilled and confident that our dear State will be free from the scourges of drug and alcoholic abuse, which has afflicted almost all communities.
I thank you again for your presence here and for your commitment to the cause of peace. God bless us all.