The Igbo Community in Ghana on Saturday registered their anger against illicit drug use and trafficking as they engaged in a protest march on the Giffard Road in Accra
From the La Nativity Presbyterian Church, the protesters, led by Eze Dr Chukwudi Ihenetu, the Paramount Chief of the Igbo Community in Ghana, in sportswear, marched through the Palm Wine Junction, Jubas Villas, Congo Junction and finally converged at the El Wak Stadium, where they were addressed and engaged in aerobic exercises.
As they marched, music blared from a float vehicle, and the trekkers, full of energy and enthusiasm, flaunted placards with inscriptions that condemned illicit drug use, activities, and trafficking.
Some of the placards read:” Say No to Drug Abuse and Trafficking”, “Illicit Drug Peddling is a Crime”, ‘Expose Drug Traffickers” “Illicit Drug Use is a Crime”, “Drugs are Destroying the Youth”, “Wee and Cocaine Will Destroy You,” “You Can Stop Drug Abuse” and ” Gyae Tramol No!”
The marchers also gave flyers that bore condemnatory messages on drug abuse and illicit drug trade to passengers and drivers in vehicles that slowed down on the road, as well as pedestrians, to heighten awareness on the dangers of drug abuse, illicit drug trafficking and distribution.
Addressing the protesters, Dr Yennusom Maalug, Specialist Psychiatrist at the Pantang Mental Hospital expressed worry at the youth engaging in drug and substance abuse, noting the that “it destroys the future of tomorrow.”
“The major cancer is the intake of cocaine and heroin; these substances will not give you long life. Rather, they will destroy you,” Dr Maalug said.
He observed that apart from mental disorders, drug abuse can lead to deviant behaviours as withdrawal symptoms, stealing and robbery; and, loss of property, killing and destruction of life, as some youth on drugs had taken the lives of their parents or dear ones.
“Since this campaign began, some parents have come forward to tell us what their children who are on drugs have done against them,” Dr Maalug said, and added that females were also in the fray.
Dr Maalug said some drinks as sobolo; candies and biscuits have been laced with hard drugs.
He urged African nations not to be cowed into thinking they were “Third World Nations” and accept the drug trade as a means of raising revenue but rather unitedly stand firm and stop the drug canker.
“If you think you are making money, you are destroying your own blood,” Dr Maalug said.
Eze Dr Ihenetu, on his part, advised drug barons to channel their resources in more rewarding enterprises as agriculture and information technology
He invited businesspeople to come forward and partner the Igbo Community for business ventures.
Eze Dr Ihenetu advised the youth: ” We want you to rule Ghana; we want you to rule Nigeria, so don’t take illicit drugs to ruin your lives.”
The Paramount King appealed to traditional leaders, the clergy and the leadership and membership of the Christian and other religious communities, teachers, and parents to join in the campaign against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
The Eze, has earlier in the month had announced that he would lead a campaign against drug abuse and trafficking to save the youth from further drug damage and consequences.
He had said: “And before the end of May, we gonna do a walk on this. We’ll walk within Accra and tell people that it’s wrong to be a drug trafficker, it’s wrong and bad to be an intake of drug person because drugs have destroyed the world.”
Part of the campaign would be radio and television shows and discussions.
Last February, the Paramount King launched a crusade to protect the youth from drug abuse and its consequences.
With reports on social media rife of the youth engaged in drugs, he entreated African leaders, school authorities, parents, guardians, and all stakeholders to get involved in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking.
The walk on Saturday was part of activities planned and being spearheaded by the Paramount King in the campaign against illicit drug use and trafficking.