The Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly, Ben Murray-Bruce, has decried the alarming state of drug abuse among Nigerian youths.
Speaking during plenary at the floor of the Senate, Murray-Bruce said drug abuse had eaten deep into Nigerian society, including the homes of the majority of Nigerian lawmakers.
“This is a very serious issue and I am sure my colleagues here when they were in school may have had classmates who were on drugs. When I was in high school, a few of my classmates were on drugs.
“I urge my colleagues to go home and pay attention to your children. You may be shocked that somebody in your household is on drugs. Always happy, always smiling and you have no idea why that child is smiling because that child is on drugs.”
The lawmaker said the issue of drug abuse was extremely serious as those drugs were easily accessible to Nigerian youths, both the poor and rich who relied on it to be happy.
“There are reasons why people get on drugs. The rich kids get on designer drugs because it makes them high and happy. Poor kids get on drugs because there is a level of hopelessness in their lives and when the drug makes them high it gives them relief.
“When we talk about rehabilitation, it is important we understand why people get on drugs first. Then we figure out a way to solve the problem. If we have 60 million Nigerians unemployed, 11 million kids out of school, 6 million people who just lost their jobs in the last two years, it is not surprising that lots of people are on drugs,” he said.
Bruce added that this serious issue was not limited to Northern Nigeria as some people wrongly believed but it was a general issue affecting Nigerian youths and it must be handled with a focus on the core of the problem.
“This is a serious problem and it must be addressed in a manner that deals with the cores of the problem. They say it’s in Northern Nigeria but it is all over Nigeria.
“It is a serious problem as the drugs are purchased readily available. I urge my colleagues to go home, there is no way 109 of my colleagues will go home and not find somebody in their household who is on drugs. I urge this Senate to take this very seriously,” he said.