By Lawi Auwal Yusuf
Drug addiction suffers a death blow occasioned by the outstanding performance put up by the Youth Against Drug Abuse Foundation (YADAF). It is sure that this name now rings a bell in the Nigerian anti-drug crusade by breaking new ground and marking a turning point without historical precedent. Moreover, it has distinguished itself as the leading figure among its peer NGOs.
This voluntary organization was first set up in Lagos in 2017 and in Kano in 2019. It is propelled by its leading force Hajiya Fatima Bature Jikan-Danuwa, its founder and CEO. This great heroine dedicated her life, wealth and everything in her arsenal to realize her dearest wish of extirpating drug abuse. This real gem has an old hand in this national service and carried off multiple awards coupled with eulogies from different quarters.
YADAF is always motivated by its firm conviction that our youth means everything to us. They are the firmament upon which the development of society rest and its future custodians. This makes the team have a penchant for empowering the young to become enterprising, industrious and productive. They derive pleasure from this community service and are always in high spirits to improve the youngsters’ lives. They are so ecstatic to see them living a good everyday life.
It depresses us to see our lads doing drugs, which consequently deals a blow to our society. We are dead scared to see them engaged in this outrageous behaviour which is so detrimental to their health, badly denting their future and lest becoming a nonentity. In 2021, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported that 40% of Nigerian youths between 18-35 were heavy drug users. This is an awful statistic.
Thus, YADAF felt duty-bound to swing into action and band together with the relevant stakeholders to face the problem squarely. It fights tooth and nail to contain this social upheaval. The problem’s exacerbation never dampens its enthusiasm, nor does the challenges dash its hopes. On the contrary, it remains impulsively committed to its cause. Indeed, its devotion to this job is commendable.
The management presents mass awareness campaigns through TV and radio programmes, public lectures, dissemination of helpful information across different social media platforms, leaflets etc., aimed to dissuade adolescents from engaging in this criminogenic behaviour or ditching it entirely. Furthermore, they expose the evils of this act and extol the virtues of abstaining from it altogether.
Lack of sound education and professional training is a leading cause of this devilish act. Although skills are increasingly becoming more valuable in the labour market, their absence necessitates the young to either remain redundant or wander the street to make ends meet.
This explains why YADAF introduced its Back To School Programme to sponsor drug-addicted juveniles, dropouts and the rehabilitated back to school. Under the scheme, hundreds of such teenagers, including those considered vulnerable to drug abuse, have been registered in both primary and secondary schools. For instance, 347 children benefited from this programme last week, while preparations are underway for the next set.
Furthermore, providing full employment with prospects helps the young develop a worthy stake in the social order. Also, it makes them preoccupied with a legitimate way of earning a decent living, hopeful of a secured future. This motivates them to work harder, become righteous and avoid anything distracting the realization of their dreams.
This speaks to the establishment of the YADAF Skills Acquisition Center to make youths dexterous artisans become self-reliant. It is a costly mistake to leave the young to their own devices or keep them at a distance. Therefore, this centre is furnished with state–of–the–art facilities to help them learn useful skills to realize their potential.
Moreover, we encourage the young to participate in sports activities which enhance community cohesion and a sense of belonging. We promote a sports culture that keeps them away from doing drugs and leads to fitness. The effectiveness of sports is so absolute in promoting peace, unity and curbing crime.
Our strategic approach is to improve the sporting career, enticing more demand for sports industry athletes. This will facilitate the development of our local players to become competitive champions globally.
As the evils of drug abuse are obvious, all hope is not lost for our most resilient youths. On the contrary, the coming of YADAF makes us feel so good that we are on the right track to securing their long-lost potential.
Lawi Auwal Yusuf Maikanawa is a fellow of YADAF, Kano State Chapter.