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Governors’ Wives Fight Drug Addiction In Women

Wives of northern state governors have collaborated with the Sokoto State government to tackle an alarming trend in the region: drug addiction by women. It is not just men or boys doing it. Women and girls are also sniffing and ingesting hard drugs and illicit substances in the North, and they are doing it at such a frequency that all the state governments in the region are alarmed. Sokoto and Kogi states have built well-equipped rehabilitation centres for addicts. Wives of the region’s state governors have also moved to help roll back the trend.

The women under their umbrella organisation, Northern Governors Wives Forum (NGWF), gathered in Sokoto to launch the rehab centre and kick-start a comprehensive campaign against drug abuse and addiction in the North.

They were led by their chairman Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar, wife of Bauchi State governor. Her Sokoto counterpart Hajiya Maryam A. Tambuwal hosted them. Their colleagues in Zamfara, Kebbi, Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa were also present. Those who could not make the trip sent worthy representatives.

The Sokoto centre has, among other things, offices, laboratories, male and female dormitories, diagnostic unit, neurological/psychiatric unit, recreational facilities and chat room.

The NGWF held a two-day meeting there aiming to put an end to the menace.

The meeting came on the heels of a federal directive banning the production of syrups containing codeine, in addition to the closure of companies manufacturing medications with codeine, a stimulant now being widely abused.

At the gathering, chairperson of the forum Mrs Abubakar noted that the menace of drug abuse particularly among women has triggered apprehension in the region considering the devastating effect of the habit.

“The challenge is ours and we have to focus on the ills and how to check it,” she said. “It is quite alarming and disturbing to know that women constitute a larger stratum of the addicts and if not checkmated, it will ruin the future of the younger generation.

“We, as mothers, are the custodians of our children’s behaviours and attitudes which we must consider important by giving them the right orientation and not to be bad examples to their upbringing.”

She advocated for the establishment of more women rehabilitation centres, noting, “We have already commissioned one in Kogi and are here to commission one in Sokoto”.

She said Sokoto State is a shining example in good governance.

In her welcome address, wife of the state governor, Hajiya Maryam Waziri Tambuwal said drug abuse by women in the north was worrisome.

She pointed out that the primary and fundamental vision and mission of the forum was to cater for the immediate needs and well-being of women and children as well as advance the general cause of women.

Mrs Tambuwal called on teachers to, as a matter of priority, pay attention to the general well-being of children as well as report cases and tendencies of drug abuse by students to college authorities for appropriate action.

“Parents also have to be extra vigilant by monitoring their children, know who they move or associate with as well as encourage virtues of moral discipline in their lives,” she said.

In his message, Governor Waziri Tambuwal described as timely and appropriate the meeting by the northern governors’ wives, positing that the region was faced with various social challenges. He urged the wives of the governors to brace up to the task of reversing the trend.

“I hope that the people of the region will rise and checkmate the social menace fast affecting its advancement in many respects,” Tambuwal urged.

While inaugurating the Sokoto State Occupational Theraphy and Youth Development Centreý, the NGWF chairperson, Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar called on wives of governors to initiate a responsive collaboration to end the menace of drug and illicit substance abuse especially among women.

She described the newly inaugurated centre as part of efforts to tackle drug abuse and addiction in the region.

Hajiya Abubakar disclosed that the forum had since initiated a collaboration with the senate for an anti-drug abuse and control Billý.

She commended the first lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari for her unflinching support to the purposeful Forum while stressing that all hands must be on deck to enable a drug abuse and addiction freeý society.

“We must intensify efforts in driving our vision for a sane and sound society by introducing relevant programmes in our respective states.”

Wife of Sokoto State governor Hajiya Mariyam Waziri Tambuwal expressed concern at the frequency at which the menace was affecting the mental balance and social lives of the northern population.

She called for massive awareness campaigns at state levels especially in the region.

She said a marshal plan has to be on course by the 19 northern governors wives to strategically partner and actively work with NGOs to stem the negative trend of drug abuse and addiction by women and youths.

“Our commitment and resilience will recognise the inclusion of our traditional and religious leaders particularly in the north where the ills is alarming”, she stressed.

Delivering his speech, Governor Tambuwal who commended the Federal Government for heeding his call to ban the production of codeine, noted that drug addiction was a major problem requiring drastic and immediate solution.

“Thank God FG toed the path by banning all codeine containing syrups in the country.

“It’s a fundamental and more disturbing trend which needs to be tackled totally.ý It is heartening to say that my administration has swiftly taken steps to fight the menace with the active involvement of stakeholders through responsive advocacy, awareness creation, closure of drug retail outlets at Mammy Market as well as the institution of a task force as measures to fight the menace.

Tambuwal said, “We have introduced various programmes and measures that led to identifying and closure of codeine and other illicit substance sale points ýwithin the Sokoto Mammy Market.

“It is one of the instrumental moves that encourages our fight against abuse and addiction by women and youths in the state. The centre ýis part of necessary measures to support the process of rehabilitation and integration of affected persons. It is fully equipped with capacity to serve the desired objective.”

Tambuwal further thanked Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and his council for their visible efforts and commitment towards reversing the trend of drug abuse.

He also commended the NGWF for its foresight in setting up the centre for the benefit of humanity.

Tambuwal also called on the management of the centre to judiciously utilise and maintain the equipment at their disposal.

The event was attended by a representative of Sultan of Sokotoý who is the Ubandoman Sokoto Sabon Birni, Alhaji Muhammadu Malami Maccido, as well as dignitaries and politicians.

A popular local musician Alhaji Babangida Kaka Dawa and other performers thrilled the audience with compositions against drug abuse and addiction.

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