Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday urged parents, guardians and caregivers to watch out for drug addiction signs in their children and wards, saying the negative impact of drug abuse is not only harmful to the victims but can threaten the peace of the society.
Speaking in Araga-Epe while commissioning the Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM) Rehabilitation Centre of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Governor Ambode said it was important for parents to be vigilant as victims of drug addiction can be easily lured into crime which would ultimately threaten peace and development.
He lauded RCCG and its leadership for deeming it fit to join the fight against the menace of drug abuse, just as he assured that the State Government would support the initiative to achieve the desired results.
He said: “As we support this rehabilitation centre, let me use this opportunity to implore parents, guardians and care givers to be vigilant in order to detect early signs of drug addiction in their children and seek help from appropriate quarters before it gets complicated.
“On our part as a government, we shall continue to take preventive measures through public awareness campaigns especially among our youths so that they are adequately informed on the dangers inherent in drug abuse.”
While appreciating the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and his wife, Folu Adeboye for dedicating efforts and resources to treat and rehabilitate people who have gotten addicted to one form of drug abuse or the other through the centre, the Governor said it was inspiring and instructive that the duo and others behind the initiative thought it necessary to use the platform of the church to join in the fight against the social menace.
“CADAM has, on its own, picked up, treated and rehabilitated many people who have been addicted to drugs and given them a new life. CADAM, with their own resources, clothes, feeds and shelters these affected citizens and gives them a chance to live again,” he said.
The Governor, who also noted that the services rendered to beneficiaries of the CADAM initiative were free of charge, said with the quality of facilities at the new rehabilitation centre, he was optimistic that many lives that had been compromised as a result of drug addiction would be redeemed, stabilised and given a new hope for a better and meaningful future.
He acknowledged the fact that the centre was the first functional drug rehabilitation home in Nigeria, saying that the State Government would partner with the church to support the laudable initiative in needed areas.
He said: “This is the first rehabilitation centre in Nigeria which is functional and also effective. I want to commend RCCG for setting the pace to intervene on behalf of government because this is what government should be doing but this intervention comes with a lot of respect and commendation from us and we have no reason than to just partner with RCCG and CADAM Centre to ensure that this facility is 24/7 functional.
“Given the incredible impact this facility will have on the society, I am pleased to say that this is a project that the Lagos State government will support. We are committed to making life better for our people and supporting good causes. This is a great cause and deserves not only the support of the State Government but of all well-meaning Nigerians, institutions and corporate bodies,” the Governor said.
He said aside the personal support to come from his family and friends, the CADAM Avenue Road which is in deplorable state would be rehabilitated as part of the ongoing by-pass road project linking Epe to Ijebu-Ode through Poka and Mojoda, while efforts would be put in place to make the centre functional 24/7.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Pastor Adeboye who was represented by his wife, recalled that the CADAM initiative was founded in 1991 by Pastor Ezekiel Odeyemi, who coincidentally is a Special Assistant to the General Overseer of RCCG.
She explained that it started as a department in the Church to visit homes of addiction victims and hospitals to pray and minister to their physical needs, but that the name was changed in 1996 specifically to permit a wider psycho-social dimension as well as to remove stigma associated with addiction, stigma directed at the addicts and their families.
She said since inception, the centre had assisted more than 2000 beneficiaries, most of whom have become professionals and well-to-do persons in the society.
She also said that over N200million have been spent so far to put up the facilities, saying that the centre would soon commence full implementation of educational and skill acquisition programmes.