Drug abuse is a common practice among many Nigerian youths. In this piece, our Correspondent in Plateau State, GOLOK NANMWA, examines how stakeholders are looking at the situation and its effects among youths in Plateau State with a view to curbing it.
Due to the high rate of consumption of hard drugs by youths in Plateau State, especially the consumption of Goskolo (a local gin )and the negative effects on their health, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has advocated for the sponsorship of a bill that will address the production, sale and consumption of illicit drugs in the state.
Our correspondent gathered from a medical expert that Goskolo kills close to 100 youths in the state yearly.
Kaigama who spoke during a round table discussion at the Dialogue Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) centre in Jos recently said “looking at the menace of drug abuse and the negative consequences on the peace and security of the State, the discussion would afford an opportunity to reflect on the vulnerability of our youths and their involvement in crisis especially when under the influence of drugs and other intoxicants.”
He said the production, sale and consumption of illicit drugs has contributed in worsening the security situation, as well as health challenges to youths while stressing that the discussions seek to identify the producers, production locations of illicit drugs among other suggestions.
Consultant psychiatrist at the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Aisha Armiyau Yushau who also spoke at the occasion also said unless a drastic intervention was made, the country is likely to lose its youth population in the next 10 to 20 years. “If we don’t take appropriate measures, we would have no youths because in the next 10 to 20 years, those who are sane are likely to become insane,” she said.
Goskolo is a dangerous local gin being taken by youths in Plateau. Many youths are addicted to it and advance forward to get drunk. Our correspondent also gathered that most of those who take Goskolo also smoke Indian hemp or other hard substances.
This silent killer has sent many to untimely graves in the state. Goskolo and hard drugs is presently causing havoc in Plateau State. Unlike other popular local strong drinks such as the locally made burukutu, people claimed that Goskolo is more dangerous because it contains both ethanol found in other alcoholic drinks and methanol – a chemical known to be dangerous to the human body.
It could be recalled that due to high level of drug consumption among youths, Jos North Local Government recently said it would partner with the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to curb drug abuse among youths in the area. Director of Personal Management of the council, Samuel Lohlum stated this in a chat with our correspondent in Jos.
According to him, “the LGA is working to constitute a taskforce to enforce law against the processing, trafficking and use of hard drugs and also to empower the taskforce to investigate persons suspected to have dealings in drugs and other related matters”.
Similarly, the NDLEA in the state, some months ago, arrested an alleged notorious psychotropic drug dealer operating in the state. NDLEA commander in the state, Dr. Ngozi Madubuike, had told newsmen some months ago that the suspect was arrested with 350.6 kilograms of psychotropic substances. She also said the man arrested is also a major supplier of these drugs in the state.
Investigations revealed that the major flash points where Goskolo and hard drugs are consumed includes Abbtoir, Hwolse, Tudun Wada Anguwan Rukuba, Eto baba, Congo Russia, Kabong and Gada Biyu.
Recently, the member representing Jos North/North in the State House of Assembly, Hon Baba Hassan carried out an awareness campaign calling on youths to desist from consuming hard drugs, especially Gosokolo.
He said “Goskolo has caused a lot of problems in our society and has taken the lives of many of youths. It has rendered others weak and useless.” The rally which had included elders of his community who went from shop to shop in search of the harmful gin and destroyed any found illicit drugs.
Hon. Hassan also expressed concern about the consumption of Goskolo, saying “it is unacceptable that many of the youths in our constituency are losing their lives to this gin. The youths must understand that Goskolo does not only have a negative effect on their health, but also leads to social vices.”
Hon. Hassan tasked the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to apprehend the sellers of the drugs. He said one of the factors of insecurity in the state may be attributed to the intake of Goskolo, since it is a psychoactive drug that acts on the human mind.