As part of the organization’s commitment to ensuring a drug-free society, the MTN Foundation partnering with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and United Nations Office on Drugs hosted a national conference on anti-substance abuse at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja on Monday, June 27, 2022.
The conference was held to officially commemorate World Drug Day, as well as hold critical discussions on the roles of government, individuals and organizations in the fight against substance abuse.
Speaking at the conference, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN (GCON) said, “The theme of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug trafficking, turns our attention to a rather different dimension of the problem. This is addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crisis. We must maintain a multi-dimensional approach and a holistic approach to tackling drug abuse. Once again, let me commend the new dynamic and greatly improved NDLEA and also appreciate our development partners for the successes recorded so far. And for the current resolution to support the effort to ensure a clean and healthy Nigeria.”
Also commenting on the importance of partnership in fighting the drug scourge in Nigeria, Chairman NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd.), stated that “At NDLEA, we have a sense of urgency in tackling the health consequences of the abuse of illicit drugs, and society is warming up to the idea that together we can end the drug scourge and we hope that the momentum will be maintained. We appreciate our major stakeholders for their support, thank you very much MTN for always being with us in the struggle to tackle the drug scourge in Nigeria.”
The Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi (OFR) mni, reiterated the importance of advocacy in the fight against substance abuse in Nigeria – “Last Saturday, we had an 8km advocacy walk, and it was so successful that excerpts of it went viral on social media, and we are happy that because of that, the target we had for the young people was reached, and we know that this will continue in the next year. As an organisation, we will continue to support the NDLEA especially in the area of advocacy. We must continue the talk until such a time when we can say to ourselves, we are making progress,” he said.
This year, with the 2022 ASAP campaign themed – ‘It’s Everyone’s Fight,’ the MTN Foundation partnered with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); the Ministry of Education, Businessday, NET.ng and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) to expand the awareness initiatives on the anti-substance abuse programme. Activities to commemorate the event included capacity-building training for teachers across three major states, a quiz competition for secondary school students, a Twitter space conversation, an advocacy walk and the national conference.
The MTN Anti-Substance Abuse Project (ASAP) is a multi-sectoral initiative spearheaded by the MTN Foundation to deliver interventions that will help reduce the rate of first-time drug abuse among the youth.