Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Nacortic Drugs, Hon. Francis Ottah Agbo, has decried the prevalence of drug abuse by youths in Nigeria, warning that if not tackled, Nigeria’s future would be in danger.
Agbo who spoke after receiving his Lawmaker of the Year Award at the 2020 Business Hallmark Newspaper People of the Year Awards held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, also blamed drug abuse for the looting and arson that took place during the recent EndSARS protests across the country.
Agbo appealed to the relevant authorities to pay more attention to the effort towards combating the menace, regretting that at the moment, the effort has proved inadequate.
“Drug abuse has become very rampant in the country, with the youths of course, being the biggest abusers. If we don’t work hard to wage war against this menace, I can assure you that the leaders of tomorrow, as we usually refer to the youths, will be destroyed,” Agbo said.
“That’s part of why, if you you look at what happened during the recent EndSARS protests, the protest started very well until drug addicts hijacked the process and that was why, while the youths said they were protesting because they are not being given adequate attention and employment, the drugs addicts went there and destroyed the existing facilities that had been providing jobs for the youths. And I can assure you that only drug addicts can do that kind of thing.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on all of us to work hard so that we can contain drug addiction. As we are witnessing, while narcotic drug addiction is progressing geometrically, the means for fighting it is processing arithmetically. The NDLEA that is the body established to fight drug addiction is under funded, ill-equipped and under staffed.”
Appreciating the honour bestowed on him by Business Hallmark, the lawmaker who represents the people Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency of Benue State in the House, promised continue to do his best for to the country.
Agbo who dedicated the award to the people of his constitutecy, praised them for their support, while thanking the organisers of the event for the rare honour.
The Award is part of part Business Hallmark’s concept of honouring outstanding individuals and corporate organisations that have affected the Nigerian economy and polity in productive ways.
Delivering his opening remarks at the well attended event, chairman of the occasion and former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim described the awardees as achievers who have “shone like bright stars” spreading light on the nation.
Anyim seized the opportunity to call for the restructuring of Nigeria, warning that the need had become urgent as the country dances on the brink.
“The reality is that we may have now found ourselves at a point in history where we we must decide who we are and were we are collectively intending to go from here,” he said.
“From my interactions with different groups from different parts of the country, what comes comes out most times is that there is an urgent need for us to evolve a sociopolitical system where everybody feels that they are effectively represented.
“I must must say that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, banditry, kidnapping and the recent citizens protests and the contraction of the economy over the last two quarters means that the long forecasted intense competition for the dwindling resources has started. This battle for the control of scarce resources will lead to intense social conflicts that can only be averted if we make the right decisions now.”
Other winners of awards on the night included Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike who took the Man of the Year accolade; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami who won Public Servant of the Year Award; Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, Fidelity Bank CEO who took Banker of the year award and Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, former director of public communications at the CBN who took professional excellence in corporate communications accolade.
Others are former Transcorp CEO, Valentine Ozigbo who won the Outstanding Achievement in Transformational Leadership Award; All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftains, Prince BB Apugo and Senator John James Akpanudoedehe both of whom won the Outstanding Achievement in Political Awards; Barrister Mrs. Uju Ifejika, CEO of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited who emerged Entrepreneur of the Year and Konga, the country leading e-commerce start-up which won Company of the Year award.