Deputy Director, Ministry of Education Lagos, Ronke Matuluko, says that the Unplugged training program by the MTN Foundation, will go a long way in impacting students in high drug zones in Lagos. She made this statement during the Unplugged training in Lagos state on Monday, July 10, 2023.
The Unplugged Training in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), is an anti-substance abuse training program for 180 secondary school teachers across 60 secondary schools in Lagos, Imo, Kaduna, Delta, Gombe and Abuja. The training is designed to educate secondary school teachers on drugs and drug abuse and provide teachers with proper sensitisation techniques and instruments to work on social influences, and substance prevention among their students.
Matuluko highlighted that the Lagos State Ministry of Education is greatly invested in the welfare of its students. “The Lagos state Ministry of Education is interested in the welfare of students, and with this program, the teachers are going back to their schools to indoctrinate their students on the dangers of substance abuse, at the same time preventing first-time drug users. This will go a long way in impacting students in Lagos state, especially students in high drug zones” she stated.
Speaking at the training in Lagos, UNODC representative and unplugged trainer, Ruth Owotumi, explained that the Unplugged training for teachers is an anti-substance prevention programme based on comprehensive social influence, that primarily targets young ones as they approach their adolescent years. She further explained that the training is an evidence-based school program comprising 12 lessons to build life skills in young people, making them more resilient to the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
According to a 2018 study conducted on substance use among secondary school students in select Nigerian states, it was found that the proportion of respondents who were substance abusers was significantly higher among students who had not received any formal lectures on substance abuse at school, compared to those who had been taught.
Speaking on the initiative, Executive Secretary MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanya highlighted that the training is an avenue to work with the government in curbing the pandemic of substance abuse in Nigeria. She stated that “the reality of substance abuse in Nigeria, especially among the youths, is one we must no longer ignore, that is why at the MTN Foundation, we are partnering with the government to fight this pandemic. With the unplugged training in partnership with UNODC, we hope to influence secondary school students against the use of substances and make them ambassadors who will champion the anti-substance abuse cause”.
The Unplugged training is part of the activities for the 2023 Anti-Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), an initiative spearheaded by the MTN Foundation since 2019, to deliver interventions that contribute to a significant reduction in the rate of drug abuse among young Nigerians.