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Worrisome rising cases of drug abuse among the youths

PHOTO: GOOGLE

PHOTO: GOOGLE

He is popularly known as Pastor among residents of Taiwo, Akpomuje and Bayo Oyewale Streets in Okota, Isolo, Lagos where he also resides presently with his family. He has his church known as God Saviour Assembly somewhere in Isheri-Oshun, also in Lagos.

His real name is Mr. Chijioke Ofuoba. He is a graduate of Biochemistry from one of the tertiary institutions in the Southeast zone, where he held sway as the leader of one of the deadly secret cult groups while in the school.

Speaking to The Guardian on why he joined cult group while in school, Ofuoba disclosed that he was influenced by three of his roommates in his second year who were into taking drugs such as Tramadol and Indian hemp.

He said: “I was born and brought up by very disciplined parents. I enjoyed everything with my siblings while growing but my parents were overprotective. We hardly go out anyhow or associate without our parents’ approval. So when I got admission to higher institution, I was eager to socialise with my peers without knowing the implications.”

“I was under the influence of drug the day I was initiated into a cult group called BF. That was on April 22, 1998. I had the beating of my life that day after which I was handed a gun with strict instruction. The scars of the beating are still on my back.

“With the influence of Tramadol and Indian hemp which I took often, I was very active and proficient in the cult activities to the extent that I became the leader in my school during the second semester of my third year. It was an experience not worth remembering but I thank God today and my dear wife whom I met during my youth service programme in Gombe State almost a decade ago.”

On how he stopped engaging in drug abuse, Ofuoba said: “Why we were in orientation camp in Gombe as youth corps members, I continued to take Tramadol alongside other corps members from other schools who were also into drug abuse. Sometimes some military men partook in the consumption because we were all together in the camp then.

“There was one particular lady corps member I admired so much in the camp, but she was always attending church programmes. One day I approached her and expressed my feelings to her. She told me pointblank that I need God’s intervention in my life. She told me to my surprise that I was into drug abuse. She appealed to me to stop it and save my soul.”

“I couldn’t sleep that day. The next day after our morning parade I went to her hostel and asked for her assistance spiritually. That was how I joined her and others in the church programmes. Being with her most times kept me away from my drug abuse gang in the camp. While doing my primary assignment, I kept in touch with her. We attended church services and programmes together.

“On completion of our service programme, we relocated to Lagos. She secured a job in one of the Insurance companies, I went to the clergy school where I trained for one year before establishing my own church. We got married some years ago and are now blessed with two kids.”

On what he has been doing in his church to rescue some youths who are into drug abuse, Ofuoba said he has quarterly programme tagged “youths to the rescue”.

“My church spends a lot of money in providing free breakfast and lunch for youths that attend the programme quarterly. In my preaching and teachings, I dwell much on the danger of drug abuse. I always use my personal experience as a reference point for them. Many of them have been rescued and they usually come to church to give testimonies. I am very grateful to God and also to my wife for being there for me when it mattered most. Many of my cult members and drug gang members are either dead or useless today.”

Ofuoba’s case was a true case of a youth drug addict that was rescued by a lady whom he later married. Today, there are so many Ofuobas and other youths that are into drug abuse and have not been rescued by anybody. Their lifestyles and activities have not only become a source of worry to their immediate families and other relations, it has become a societal menace that defies solution.

They are growing in numbers and can be found in all nooks and crannies of the society today. Not even the punishments from the regulatory agencies like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) or the Police nor the intervention from religious groups have deterred them from engaging in the illicit activities. Many Nigerians are of the view that the rising crime rate among the youths in the society today is not unconnected with their involvement in drug abuse.



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