|Urges Students to Shun Substance Abuse|
In line with its fight against substance abuse among Nigerian youths, the MTN Foundation in partnership with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) held the first edition of its Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) Quiz Competition for secondary schools students in Nigeria. The first round of the competition, held on Tuesday, 7 June 2022.
The ASAP was started by the MTN Foundation in 2019 as a multi-sectoral platform to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of substance misuse and addiction among young Nigerians. The purpose of this program is to dissuade youths from using substances to promote a drug-free lifestyle.
The Secretary, NDLEA, Shadrach Haruna, who represented the agency at the quiz competition, urged the students to take advantage of the opportunity the competition presents to create activities that promote a healthy lifestyle and impart knowledge to fellow students. According to him, “The issue of substance abuse among Nigerian students continues to rise at an alarming rate. The purpose of the quiz is not only to dissuade students from using substances, but also to protect their future and fulfil their dreams.” Also present at the competition was Executive Secretary of the MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya, who spoke about the significance of drug abuse prevention and MTN’s commitment. ‘’One might wonder what a telecommunications firm has to do with anti-substance abuse. It is really about the numbers. About 14.1 million Nigerian youths have at some point been under the influence of drugs. As we know, Nigeria is the youngest country in Africa by demography we have a budding youthful population. If we are to continue to birth our dreams as a nation we need to focus on the youth, which is why we are invested in this campaign to dissuade young Nigerians from substance abuse.”
Speaking to the students present at the competition, Sanya said “The unique thing about all of you participating in the quiz is that you have all become ASAP ambassadors and we expect that you will take the ASAP message back to your classrooms, homes and communities. We expect you to spread the message that we are all better off when we don’t touch drugs and stay away from negative peer influence. You all have been promoted to ASAP ambassadors today and we hope to continue to hear great things from you.”
Other individuals present at the event were the Director of Drug Demand Reduction, Dr Ngozi Madubuike and Representative of the Federal Ministry of Health, Farida Tukur.
Of the ten secondary schools that competed in the quiz, three schools advanced to the final round; Funtaj International School Abuja, Intelligence Quotient Academy, Abuja and Government Secondary Schools (GSS) Ilorin. These three schools will proceed to the final round of the competition scheduled to hold on June 14, 2022, after which the winner will be announced during the ASAP National Conference on June 26, 2022.The ASAP Quiz Competition aims to educate secondary school students about the dangers of substance abuse while also motivating them to influence their friends positively and establish activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.