In the interest of Nigerian youths and their future, the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta Muslim Alumni has lauded the National Agency for Drugs Administration and Control over its recent ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in sachets and Polyethylene Terephthalate bottles.
It spoke in a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity Committee, Tajudeen Balogun, in Lagos on Saturday.
The statement disclosed that the organisation’s National President, Prince Taofeek Oyeniyi, while reacting to the ban, hailed the Food and Drugs agency’s courage to take the decision, which he said was long overdue, given the damaging effects of drugs on the youths and their future overtime.
Oyeniyi expressed dismay over stiff opposition to the ban by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, labour and trade unions, under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Food and Beverages, Tobacco Senior Staff Association Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
While the MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, countered that the claim by NAFDAC was unfounded and the prevalent drug challenges were a reflection of a systemic problem of “much wider ramifications”, the labour body has staged a protest against the ban.
Oyeniyi said he sympathised with the two stakeholders, saying it is very clear that the MAN’s position was simply to keep its members in business, while the protesting workers were only keen in saving their jobs.
Inasmuch as they have right to this, the MAPAMA President stressed that the duo’s desires were personal, but regrettably against the national interest, especially as it relates to the future of youths.
This, Oyeniyi declared, was parochial and unpatriotic.
MAPAMA urged MAN, workers’ unions and others who are opposed to the ban to go back to the records and evaluate the havoc readily available and affordable drugs have wrecked in the lives of many youths in the past till date.
For instance, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on August 19, 2021 said then that recent statistics revealed that 40 percent of Nigerian youth between 18 and 35 “are deeply involved in the abuse of drugs”.
Atinuke Aduloju, NDLEA Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, made the exposition during the 7th Annual Constituency Stakeholders’ Meeting held in Ojo, Lagos.
Aduloju at the event asked and lamented: “What will the country be like if 40 percent of our underage youths are already into drug abuse and drug trafficking?
“The prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria and the negative impact on public health and safety necessitate that all hands must be on deck to curtail the challenge in our country.
“There is no better time than now for all relevant stakeholders to rise up and join the crusade the NDLEA is leading to make our country a better and safer nation, especially for the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Oyeniyi reiterated that both the MAN and the protesting workers are part of the hands that must be on deck and should compulsorily appreciate that there is definitely no better time to fight the menace than now, just as the NAFDAC has joined the crusade.
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“MAN and workers should be more reasonable,” the group’s president maintained.
The MAPAMA president stressed that if MAN members and workers who protested do not have drug victims in their families, some families are nursing the same challenge, spending heavily daily and suffering many social and psychological trauma alongside the victims in different parts of the country.
Apart from the mental and health challenges relating to drug use, Oyeniyi also expressed concern on the environmental effects of drug addiction.
The sachets of the handy alcoholic drinks apart from littering every space in each community, he pointed out, have compounded the challenge of water channel blockage.
This, he noted, subsequently aids disasters like flooding in both urban and rural areas.
Apart from this, Prince Oyeniyi lamented that most of the affected youths before the effects of drug consumption reaches crescendo have become nuisance and sources of dangers to others due to mental derailment, which unfortunately results in eccentric behaviours and reactions.
The MAPAMA president restated that instead of resorting to self-seeking opposition and rejection of a timely and laudable action, MAN and labour unions should prioritise the national interest and that of innocent youths, who are the future leaders.
NAFDAC on February 5, 2024 announced the ban on production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets and less than 200ml PET bottles.
The agency alleged that the “segmentation” is responsible for rising alcohol use among the underage.