By Gabriel Chy Alonta
As part of her community development service activities, an NYSC corps member, with state code AN/18B/2141, serving at the Anambra state House of Assembly, Ms Oyikpa Yenisam Eno, has called for more sensitisation on the dangers of drug abuse and school dropout in Anambra state.
Eno made this call during a one day symposium tagged, “School graduate not school dropout,” for over 100 students selected in the six education zones in the state, held last Wednesday in Awka, the state capital.
The serving corps member, who convened the programme, said that it became imperative due to rising cases of out-of-school children and drug abuse in the state, stressing that education is the bedrock of success, key to development and secures the future of the child in a society.
“I’m worried about the rate of school dropout in Nigeria, particularly in Anambra. Such development informed my quest to support the government with their massive education policy to improve the situation.
“Children should know that their future is more secured with education, and should not allow themselves to be lured into drug abuse and cultism, instead, they should be busy with their academic work.
The corps member called on parents and guardians to encourage their children to remain in school rather than engaging in trade early in life, remarking that children deserve to be nurtured and groomed into great leaders they should be.
“It is my desire to see that every child in this state have access to education, no matter their family background, socio-economic constraint or peer influence”, she said.
Eno, who hails from Cross River state, further encouraged students to stay motivated in school and to avoid peer pressure, noting that “education is the best gift you can give to a child”.
In a remark, the chairman of the occasion, who is also the chairman House Committee on Education, Anambra state House of Assembly, Hon. Timothy Ifedioramma, while commending the convener, urged participants to spread the message to other students.
Speaking on the effect of dropout, Ifedioramma enjoined the students to be focused and to avoid comparing themselves with others, while reminding them of their uniqueness.
He regretted that in spite of the efforts of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, there is still alarming dropout rate in the state, harping on the need to re-engineer the society. He listed economic, social and cultural factors as the reasons students drop out of school.
The House Committee chairman on education, who represents Njikoka 1 Constituency at the state assembly, said that school dropout affects the child, community and humanity at large, stressing that such development increases societal ills such as belonging to cult groups, abusing drugs, among others.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, who said that there were number of reasons students dropout from school, added that on no account should a child drop out of school.
Omenugha, represented by Mrs. Regina Imoka, commended the corp member for such audacious initiative, assuring that the ministry would recommend her on pass out.
Mr. Charles Efosa Odigi, the Public Relations Officer, NDLEA, Anambra state, who spoke on drug abuse, warned the students on the dangers of substance abuse, enjoining the students not to be lured into drugs by their friends.
Odigi, while listing signs of drug abuse such as burnt fingers, red eyes, excessive use of perfume, and so on, called on parents to pay closer attention to their children to detect early signs of drug abuse.
Responding, a student of Queens Memorial High School, Onitsha, Charity Ezeokoye, said such forum helps students to do the needful, while commending organisers of the event for the privilege.