=By Funmi Falobi=
In order to have a sane society that works for the common good of the citizenry, the role of the family and entrenchment of family values in the society cannot be overemphasized as the family plays a major role in nurturing society members and ensuring peace in the society.
However, over the years, decadence of family values has led to social vices and increasing societal upheaval. Consequently, there have been increase in the cases of rape, domestic violence, robbery and lately, the unabated use of drug and substance abuse among the youths in Nigeria. This is a major plaque that needed to be curbed if the country does not want to have generations of psychiatry patients as its teeming population. This is especially so as many Nigerian youths now indulge in drug and substance abuse.
It was based on the foregoing trends and in order to address the decadence bedeviling the society, that the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Lagos state chapter organized its 2018 family week with the theme “Ensuring a Saner Society: Playing our Roles.” The essence is to remind parents of their roles in nurturing the children, youths in the right paths in order to have peaceful environment where every potential counts.
According to Lagos NAWOJ Chairperson, Hajia Sekinah Lawal, there is need to look at the issues of violence, drug and substance abuse holistically. “Government alone cannot do it. Government can ban tramadol, codeine, etc, but what of other substances our youths engage in that can’t be banned. As women professionals, through our writings, through our various programmes on television, radio, and social media, we should be able to do more, train the children through our profession”, she said.
“Parents should give the children quality time. How do we engage them positively? Can they confide in us? Are we the type that they will say when I get home, mummy and daddy will listen to me? What is the essence of doing what will endanger your life? She queried.
To ensure the saner society, she explained that especially for the youth, there should be access to best health facilities, quality education, infrastructure, urging everyone to be politically aware. “We must be involved in politics. Attend meetings in your wards, get your PVC, register and participate in any political party of your choice,” she said.
In his speech, the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Yekeen Habeeb, former Director, First Bank, declared that to build saner society starts at home. The former Kogi governorship aspirant urged parents to show love to their children. “Parents must love their children equally. Encourage them to develop positive attitude.”
In her address, Lagos State First Lady, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode advised the youths to desist from drug abuse. Represented by Mrs. Mosunmola Ogunleye, she said drug and substance abuse lead them to nowhere but total destruction. We must lead them close to God.
Speaking on the topic “Taming the Scourge of Drug and Substance Abuse” Dr. Omowunmi Bakare, Chairman, Medical Women Association, Lagos State opined that the bottom approach should start from home. According to her, parents should guide the children, youths, tell them the right thing about life that they need to challenge their brain and do not need to use drugs.
“When the brain is destroyed, the person is like a vegetable. Home is where we should start talking to children about drugs, side effects. Any drug is a poison. You need to use even the prescribed for certain period. We need to tell our children not to go near drugs. We need to advocate to relevant stakeholders in the society so that wrong people do not have licence to drugs,” she said.
Bakare also stated that there should be advocate to government to ensure relevant policies are made. “There are several outfits children can learn and exercise their energy. Traditional leaders, religious leaders are also important advocates. Let’s tell them about how to live well so that you can become great leaders in the society.
“Prevention is better than cure. We don’t want our children to be addict before we prevent. Monitor what they are doing. Love them but also be strict with them,” she said.
Also contributing, the Guest Speaker, Barrister Hauwa Shekarau, Country Director, IPAS Nigeria speaking on the topic, “The Impact of the Global Gag Rule on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Nigeria” revealed that policy affects women in developing countries in which Nigeria is inclusive. According to her, the seminar is key in addressing social problem but stressed that the global gag rule will not allow people to access fund on abortion, information on abortion and awareness on abortion.
“The global gag rule applies to foreign NGO (non- governmental organization) working on maternal mortality, HIV, etc. As long as this policy continues, it will continue to bring disaster to women in developing nations. It decreases safe access to health. Contraceptive care is very important for women,” she said.
She however urged women professionals to speak against the global gag rule and let people know how dangerous it is to women’s health, the need to look beyond US funding and document how the global gag rule impact organizations.
On her part, Florence Udu, a family life coach speaking on “Protecting our Children from Sexual Abuse” said sexual abuse is increasing and majority of it are not reported. She declared that homo sexuality is increasing.
“We live in a society where wrong things are being accepted as right things. Sexual abuse is process whereby an adult take advantage of minors. Minors are also taking advantage of minors – senior minors. As well as teachers abusing students saying they want to make them big girls”
She explained that one of the tactics of the predator is cartoon bait, their favourite song urging parents to “spend quality time with the children. Social media has replaced family time. Our priority has been misplaced. Learn parenting. Family must be better for the nation to be better. Family value system must be entrenched. To have sane society, family value must be embraced”, she noted.
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos chapter, Dr. Quasim Akinreti advised people to do good in the society and expect the society will be fair to you at the end of the day. “Phenomenon of end time is here. Those who will survive the end time are those who pray and have good conduct”. He said.
Also speaking at the event, the representative of Recare Cosmetics, makers of Natures Gentle Touch Hair products, one of the sponsors of the event, revealed that the company’s institute is set to commence a full-tuition scholarship to hair and beauty practitioners and those intending to go into the industry for a training session. He said this is in furtherance to the institute’s commitment to empower the African woman through effective and entrepreneurial beauty education.
Mr. Daniel Komlan, Technical Education Manager, Natures Gentle Touch who represented Recare Cosmetics urged NAWOJ members to seize the opportunity to acquire a new skill while emphasizing the need for proper care of the hair, if women want to have healthy luscious hair.
Speaking about Natures Gentle Touch products, he said: “Natures Gentle Touch products are made from natural products to help maintain a healthy hair and scalp as well as solve hair and scalp related problems experienced by Nigerian women and make customers look and feel great.”