The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr Ado Yahuza, on Tuesday called for effective mobilisation of Nigerians towards a culture-oriented lifestyle that would promote the country’s cultural diversity.
Yahuza, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICO, stated this at the 2023 Annual Public Lecture, with the theme’ Culture, Drug Abuse and the Future of the Nigerian Youth’, in Abuja.
According to him, NICO Public Lecture series is a veritable platform where eminent Nigerians and scholars engaged in intellectual discussion, on critical national issues from the culture standpoint.
“This year’s edition of Public Lecture on the topic ‘ Culture, Drug Abuse and the Future of the Nigerian Youth’, is a continuation of our strategic and sustained programme of public enlightenment, cultural sensitisation.
“It is also an orientation designed to draw national attention to the alarming rate of drug and substance abuse, especially among Nigerian youths.
“There is an urgent need for collective action to save our youths, as well as the nation from the avoidance of negative consequences,” he said.
The NICO boss said that the institute had established culture club in secondary school nationwide, which aimed at addressing critical issues of cultural orientation, such as examination malpractice, cultism, honesty, hard work , drug Abuse among others.
He commended retired Brig-Gen. Mohammed Marwa, Chairman and CEO, Nigerians Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), for aggressive, proactive and effective manner it has executed its mandate in the last couple of years.
Yahuza added that the ‘War Against Drug ‘ prosecuted by NDLEA, has been a huge success, considering the large number of arrest , conviction they had secured.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the occasion, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, lamented on the extend in which drug intake had gotten deep into the nation.
According to him, there is co- relationship between drug abuse and self abuse, as such finding solution to the problem is a paramount thing.
He urged the keynote lecturer to emphasis more on cause, prevention and fight against illicit drugs, adding that complexity was the major issues according to research.
“Parents should do the needful by communicating with their children effectively, on what they need to know instead of running away from them”.
Also, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended NICO boss for drawing attention to the worrisome problem of drug and substance abuse among Nigerian youths.
Mohammed, represented by Mrs Zainab Ali-Biu, Director, International Cultural Relations, said the menace of drug Abuse among the youth, was a critical issue that deserved attention.
He called for urgent action by government and relevant agencies such as NDLEA, National Orientation Agency (NOA), NICO among others.
He added that family, religious bodies, socio- cultural organisations, civil society organisations, as well as mass media have a role to play to complement the effort of government.
” I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is fully aware of the endemic state of drug abuse among youths on Nigeria.
” The president has approved several measures to tackle the menace,” he said .
Prof. Umar Danbatta Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), in his goodwill message, said the commission has put in place initiative , that would equip and empower young Nigerians with the ability to contribute meaningfully to the economy.
Danbatta , who was represented by Mrs Nnena Ukoha, Head of Corporation, said Digital Job Creation for Youths (DJCY) was a programme designed to enhance the skills of youths across all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
” DYCY provides customised and offer fully loaded laptop computer with networking devices, to equip the youth for the purpose of engaging in different digital entrepreneurship businesses of their choice,” he said.
Mr Balarabe Ilelah , Director – General, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), in his goodwill message, commended the executive secretary of NICO for the tremendous initiative of the programme, aimed at helping to eradicate the drug intake.
Ilelah gave assurance that NBC would continue to maintain and enhance Nigeria national unity
Among dignitaries at the occasion were Mr Buki Ponle, Managing Director , Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director -General National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR)
Others were Mr Balarabe Ilelah, Director -General, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission(NBC).
Others were Alhaji Adedayo Thomas Executive Director, National Film and Videos Censor Board(NFVCB), Emir of Karashi, NYSC members, Secondary Schools students, Nigerian youths among others.
The peak of the event was Cultural performances by NICO cultural troupe and school presentation.