Dr Julia Ogwunga, Psychiatrist with a Private Hospital in Owerri, has urged Nigerians who are depressed to seek professional help before thinking of self medication or suicide.
Ogwunga who gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency said that depression, also known as major depressive disorder, was one of the most common mental disorders in the country.
She regretted that depression, drug abuse and suicide had become common in the country.
According to her, depression affects different people in different ways, but most of them experience some combination of the symptoms.
She identified some of the symptoms as anger, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, prolonged sadness or feeling of emptiness among others.
She stressed: “depression is not a sign of weakness, neither is it something one cannot snap out, rather it is an illness that requires professional treatment and with the right care, people can feel better.”
According to her, most young people experiment with substances or drugs, but the longer the person continues to use the substance, the faster the substance takes over the functioning of the brain.
The psychiatrist said that there is a fine line between regular drug use and drug abuse and addiction, adding that very few drug abusers or addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line.
”If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you may find yourself increasingly relying on it. You may take illegal drugs to calm or energize yourself or make you more confident.
”You may start abusing prescription drugs to relieve pain, cope with panic attacks, or improve concentration at school or work.
”If you are using drugs to fill a void in your life, you’re more at risk of crossing the line from casual drug use to drug abuse and addiction.
”To maintain a healthy balance in your life, you need to have positive experiences and feel good about your life without any drug use,” she said.
Ogwunga stressed that while each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common.
”Taking the drug causes a rush of the hormone dopamine in your brain, Which triggers feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated.
”When you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking.
”Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behaviour, and feel normal without drugs,” she added.
Ogwunga, however, noted some of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction as neglecting responsibilities at school, work or home.
”Your life revolve around drug use, you spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs and figuring out how to get them,” she said.
Edited by Felix Ajide
Amaechi fixes September for groundbreaking of Transport University, Daura
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Friday said the groundbreaking of the Transport University, Daura, would take place in Septemeber.
“We have agreed with contractors handling the university and the rail line to have the groundbreaking between September and October for the two projects.
He said the federal government was expecting contractors handling key road projects to hasten work to eliminate gridlocks, especially in Apapa area, Lagos.
He said the completion of the rail project would reduce gridlocks in Apapa and other parts of Lagos.
The minister said the fasctory to be built at Kajola would produce wagons and coatches and later locomotives, adding this would reduce import of the equipment from China.
“So, as part of the benefits, the company will build a factory in Kajola.
On the slow pace of the rail project, the minister linked it to insufficient funds and the absence of a cabinet to approve the payment.
As at May, the laying of the rail track had coverd 123 kilometers.
Edited by Angela Okisor
FG to enrol Newspaper vendors into N-Power Programme
The Federal Government has promised to enroll members of the Newspaper Vendors Association of Nigeria into the N-Power programme, to enable them acquire some skills.
Labour and employment minister Chris Ngige made the promise on Friday in Abuja when members of the Federal Secretariat branch of the association, led by its chairman, Desmond Obiagwu, paid him a courtesy visit.
Ngige commended the vendors for being good citizens by choosing to earn a decent living through newspaper vending, instead of engaging in criminal activities.
He expressed government’s desire to encourage them in their efforts, stating that government would enroll some of their members into the N-Power programme, a platform where Nigerians could access skills acquisition for development.
According to him, the vendors are also helping government through their work.
“Your association has helped the labour ministry because newspaper marketing is part of information dissemination.
“Through your activity, we get information on brewing labour unrest, and try to nip them in the bud through conciliatory meetings.”
Speaking earlier, Desmond Obiagwu, Chairman, Federal Secretariat branch of the association, had congratulated Ngige on his re-appointment, and wished him success in navigating the “tough” terrain of the labour ministry.
Obiagwu said that Ngige’s numerous achievements during his first tenure, including the approval of a new national minimum wage for workers, informed his re-appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari will not fail Nigerians – Presidency
The Presidency has assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari will not disappoint them in this second and last term in delivery of his promises.
Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity stated this on Friday in Abuja.
Shehu was speaking on behalf of some aides of the President, who were given a special award of recognition ‘for their contributions in projecting a solid and impressive image of the President in the discharge of their patriotic service to the Nigerian people.’
The Presidential spokesman said the president was fully aware of the expectations of Nigerians.
He said: “The President is committed to making life better for the average Nigerian.
”At the end of the tenure, Nigerians will look back and say that they have no regrets for voting him.”
Shehu, however, solicited for the support of the media, especially young publications like The Reporters, whose platform presented the awards, in carrying out their responsibilities effectively.
“We cannot achieve this alone. We count on the support of the citizens. We count on the support of the media, particularly up and coming publications like yours and we are also assuring you of our cooperation when you call on us,” he said.
The Chairman of the publication, Abdullahi Sabiu, said the awards were given to the Presidential aides after a careful assessment of their roles in the sustenance of the Buhari administration.
Other aides of the President given certificates of recognition were; Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity; Ambassador Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure, State Chief of Protocol; and Bayo Omoboriowo, Personal Photographer to the President.
Edited by Felix Ajide
Minimum Wage: Negotiations to continue Sept 4
The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), and representatives of the Federal Government will reconvene on Sept. 4 to continue negotiations on the new national minimum wage.
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the negotiators adjourned to the new date to allow President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the disagreement of relativity and consequential adjustments on the new minimum wage.
The meeting, which held in Abuja on Friday, had the Permanent Secretaries of finance and labour ministries, as well as representative of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission in attendance.
Mr Lawrence Amaechi, one of the Labour leaders in the negotiations, told NAN that both parties had agreed to consider their stance and allow the President to decide on the issue.
“We have, however, adjourned till September 4, to get the outcome from the team expected to take our positions to the President,” he said.
Amaechi, who is also the National President, Nigeria Civil Service Union, said that payment of the new minimum wage was long overdue, urging government to be proactive to avoid arrears which could create another round of agitations by workers.
Mr Richard Egbule, the immediate past Chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, headed the government side.
NAN recalls that the new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.
In July, government proposed a 10 per cent increment for level seven to 14, and a 5.5 per cent increment for workers on level 15 to 17, a proposal Labour outrightly rejected.
Egbule has, however, insisted that the 30 per cent increase for workers on levels 7-14, and 25 per cent for levels 15-17 demanded by Labour was “unrealistic”.
Edited by Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin
President Buhari to TICAD7 in Japan – Presidency
By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Aug. 23, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) holding in the City of Yokohama from Aug. 28 to 30.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Friday, said President Buhari’s participation would be his second, having attended TICAD6 in Nairobi, Kenya, in Aug. 2016.
The presidential aide revealed that President Buhari would deliver Nigeria’s Statement during Plenary Session Three in which he will appraise Nigeria-Japan relations and takeaways from TICAD6.
He said the president would attend a State Banquet and also honour the invitation of Emperor Naruhito to a Tea Reception at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo.
“In addition to a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Nigerian President will also attend some side-events and meet chief executive officers of some Japanese companies with huge investments in Nigeria,’’ he added.
Formed in 1993, the now triennial TICAD, which has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since TICAD6, according to the organisers, is the largest international conference held in Japan which “provides an open forum that generates innovative discussion among various stakeholders on African development.”
Participants are drawn not only from African countries, but also international organisations, private companies and civil society organisations involved in development.
TCAD7 is expected to focus on Africa’s “economic transformation and improvements in business environment and institution through private investment and innovation; promotion of resilient and sustainable African society for human security; and peace and stability in support of Africa’s domestic proactive efforts.”
Nigeria has gained tremendously since her participation in TICAD6 at the highest level, during which Japan pledged 30 billion dollars investment “for the future of Africa combined with the private sector;” 10 billion dollars infrastructure investment, and 500 million dollars for vocational training of 50,000 Africans.
Since the Nairobi Conference, Japanese government and companies have been very active in supporting Nigeria’s agriculture, healthcare, electricity and youth empowerment.
President Buhari and his delegation are expected in Yokohama to push for broader Japanese assistance in the areas of science and technology, innovation, human resource development, education, agriculture, power, health and disaster risk reduction, among others.
President Buhari will be accompanied by Governors Babagana Zulum, AbdulRaham AbdulRazaq and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Borno, Kwara and Lagos States respectively; ministers and other top government officials.
The President is expected back in Nigeria on Aug. 31.
edited by Sadiya Hamza