Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger has inaugurated a Social Rehabilitation Centre renovated by the Northern Governors’ Wives Forum.
Inaugurating the centre in Minna on Wednesday, Bello said government was worried about the increase in drug abuse by youths in the state.
Bello said he had constituted a committee to mitigate the sale of illegal substances by owners of patent medicine shops.
“Drug abuse is everybody’s concern; government and stakeholders should be more concerned about the well-being of our children,’’ he said.
Also speaking the Chairperson of the Northern Governors’ Wives Forum, Dr Amina Bello, said the centre was part of efforts to equip states in the Northern part of the country to handle drug abuse.
According to her, the forum is committed to ensuring that each state has a treatment and rehabilitation centre to cater for youths who are addicted to drugs.
“We have participated in several workshops and organised workshops and training in our various states.
According to her, the United Nation’s Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) Survey in 2018, revealed that the prevalence of psychoactive substance use in Nigeria was 14.4 per cent with prevalence in North Central region where Niger was situated being as high as 10 per cent.
She said the statistics showed that one out of every four drug users was a woman, with the highest drug use being among young people of between the ages of 25 to 39 years.
The chairperson noted that the forum was ready to contribute its own quota to the fight against the menace.
She said that no nation could progress if its most productive age group was affected by drug abuse.
In his comments, a former Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the state Ministry of Health, Ahmed Mohammed, said that the centre started operations in 1996 with 4,232 patients.
Mohammed said the centre had created awareness on drug abuse and Mental Health and also served as industrial training base for students.
Edited by Philip Dzeremo/Adeleye Ajayi