Following over six months of impactful on-ground activations in cities across the country, Nigeria’s foremost ICT company, MTN Nigeria, in conjunction with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to host the national convention for the Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP).
The convention which held on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, celebrated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (World Drugs Day).
The programme is a major highlight of the multi-sectoral initiative, ASAP, designed to stem the first-time abuse of substances among young Nigerians aged 10–25. Partners under the initiative include the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); the Police; Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN); Christians Against Drug Abuse Mission (CADAM); Freedom Foundation, etc.
H.E. Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbanjo, the Wife of the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria in her goodwill message stated that, “I call upon us all to join this army, for we are told this multi-headed monster requires a multi-stakeholder intervention and I call upon each one in this hall of all ages, all professions, different gender. I call upon each of us to join the resistance movement, for we must all have a resistant movement.”
The panel of discussant at the conference included top advocates in the campaign against substance abuse in Nigeria such as the First Lady, Kebbi State, H.E. Dr. Zainab Bagudu; Board Member, Freedom Foundation, Dr. Osasuyi Dirisu; Country Representative, UNODC, Mr. Oliver Stolpe and Founder, Pinnacle Medical Services, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri.
While speaking at the conference, the Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma, shared the story behind the growing pains of such a hard-hitting initiative, “The past few months have been humbling in many ways. As an organisation, ASAP opened our eyes to a more in-depth understanding of the scale of the problem of substance abuse in our country. Each day that passes reinforces the need for a sustained fight against the menace of substance abuse. We call on everyone to join in this fight, your support is invaluable and together, we will show our young ones that a drug-free life is indeed possible and doable.”
On-ground activities will continue till the end of the week in numerous locations around Abuja, including an awareness walk. The team is expected to replicate the successes of the program in Bauchi and Kano States in July.