The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, on Thursday, said drug abuse has increased road traffic fatalities in the country.
This was stated by the FRSC Public Enlightenment Officer in Lagos, Olabisi Sonusi at the 2023 Press Week Lecture by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, at rthe News Agency of Nigeria Lagos Chapel on Thursday.
At the lecture tagged, ”Drug Abuse and Nigerian Youths: Effects and the Way Forward” many stakeholders were in attendance ncluding officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, students and others.
According to Sonusi, lots of talents and future leaders have been lost and are still lost to road crashes due to substance abuse.
“Nigeria is losing youths to drugs and alcohol, especially while hanging out under the influence of substances. We are losing many of our youths in their prime,” she said.
She further added that seven out of 10 road traffic accident victims are usually youths aged between 15 years and 35 years, “We keep losing them when they are needed for national growth.”
The FRSC boss urged Nigerians to prevent under-aged driving as well as driving under the influence of alcohol, adding that the corps has carried out several campaigns and enlightenment against drug abuse among motorists in various motor parks.
“We all have to come onboard together in addressing the challenges of deaths on the highways because of substance abuse,” she said.
Speaking on an incident, she said a young rider was on Tuesday knocked down, and on investigation by FRSC personnel, it was discovered that he was under the influence of drugs.
Sonusi pleaded with parents, religious leaders and other stakeholders to come together in curbing drug abuse among the youths.
“There is the need for all Nigerians to tackle this menace holistically,” she said.
Also speaking, Deputy Superintendent Olumide Abolurin of the NSCDC, Lagos Command, said that according to the United Nations Office on Drug Abuse 14.3 million Nigerians involved in drug abuse are between ages 15 years and 64 years.
Mr Abolurin, the Public Relations Officer, NSCDC, Lagos Command, said that substance abuse was not only found among the youths but also among the elderly.
He called for effective inter-agencies collaboration among the police and other paramilitary agencies in Nigeria “in ensuring that all drug abusers are apprehended in due time”.
Mr Abolurin called for constant enlightenment and engagement of youths in Nigeria on consequence of drug abuse in their lives.
The Acting Managing Director, NAN, Abdulhadi Khaliel, commended the NAN Lagos officers for their uniformity and strong collaboration with relevant stakeholders to ensure success of the lecture.
Mr Khaliel urged editorial staff to sustain the good working relationship with stakeholders which had enabled important personalities grace the event.