MTN Foundation, in partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), led residents in Lagos and Abuja as they took to the streets on an advocacy walk against substance abuse on June 24, 2023.
The advocacy walk in Abuja started from the Old Parade Ground and ended at Wuse 2 Market. The walk, which saw residents, students, NYSC corps members, and members of the NDLEA, UNODC, and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), aimed to raise awareness of substance abuse and its detrimental effects on society.
In Lagos, the First Lady of Lagos State, Ibilola Sanwo-Olu, led residents as they marched from the NDLEA Lagos State Command, Gbagada to Oshodi, with live music from a band to boost morale. The atmosphere was electric, and the people were in high spirits as they walked to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse.
The MTN Foundation Secretary, Odunayo Sanya, charged everyone present at the advocacy walk in Abuja to continue to contribute their quota in the fight against substance abuse. She said, “The Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) started in 2019 because we felt it was important to lend a hand in the fight against substance abuse because it is everyone’s fight. It is great to see everyone gathered here this morning despite the weather about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Speaking during the walk-in in Lagos, First Lady of Lagos State, Ibijoke Sanwo -Olu, stated that it is essential for everyone to join the fight against drug abuse and trafficking. She stated, “As a mother, medical practitioner, advisor and a first lady, I find it very important that I take part in this exercise. The crime rate in Lagos state is related to the number of drugs that enters the state, if you want to live in a safe society, this war against drug abuse has to be everyone’s business, everyone is a stakeholder. In the office of the First Lady, Committee of Wives of Lagos State officials, we do not play with war against drug abuse. Today all our women representatives are here, and when next we have this I hope all our women leaders across all the local governments in Lagos State will be present to support NDLEA in the war against drug abuse.
The MTN ASAP advocacy walks in Abuja and Lagos addressed the critical issues surrounding substance abuse in the country. The walks drew attention to the foundational issues of substance use and helped to raise awareness of the importance of actively engaging young people to stop them from abusing substances. The attendance of students and NYSC corps members also emphasized the importance of youth engagement in the fight against substance use.
As part of MTN Foundation’s campaign against substance abuse, a stakeholder’s conference will be held on June 26, 2023, at the Banquet Hall, State House, in Abuja, in commemoration of World Drug Day.