26th July, 2010
Deviant behaviour among youths such as hooliganism, thuggery, smoking and drug abuse, among others, has continued to threaten the future of many youths in Lagos State and the nation at large.
In a bid to curb this, the Lagos State Government of Nigeria has adopted pro-active measures through the introduction of School Social Work Service to educate youths on the ills of deviant behaviour and the consequence it would have on their future.
Dr. Dolapo Badru, Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth and Social Development, said government attached much importance to the academic success and moral upbringing of school children.
â€œIt is important that social ills affecting students have to be properly analysed, diagnosed and possible solutions proffered for them by way of enduring government intervention like the professional school social work service and good home training with the unflinching support of other professionals,â€ said Badru at the 2010 Social Work Service Day.
â€œThis becomes necessary, because, from indication, there is nothing to suggest that various social problems inhibiting our childrenâ€™s effective learning will abate in a short while. For instance, it is reported that about 11 million Nigerian children of school age are on the streets instead of staying in school.
â€œI, however, like any of us today, know that Nigerian children/students are dropping out of school and these categories of children/students are all over the streets of Nigeria, Lagos inclusive, hawking pure water, garden eggs, oranges, groundnuts, handkerchiefs and so on,â€ he lamented.
According to him, some others were working in motor parks as touts, bus conductors and wheelbarrow pushers, among others, while there were good number of them doing menial work and some armed robbers.
â€œCertain number of them are armed robbery gangs, drug pushing syndicates, cult groups and so on. Examination malpractice and other numerous antisocial behaviour as well as other vices too many to mention, are the problems facing our school children/students,â€ he said.
Badru said he was happy that the state government had adopted strategies through the use of social workers to address the problems of deviant behaviour among youths.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Kamol Junaid, stated that many schools were visited by school social workers all in the effort to nip deviant behaviour among youths in the bud.
He said that students were encouraged to stay in the school as against dropping out of school and consequently abandoning their education, adding that with support from school authorities, teachers and guidance counsellors, counselling sessions were held for the students.
Alhaji Baba Husseini, Director of Operations and General Investigation, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who spoke on the Upsurge of Youths in Smoking Cannabis, said illicit drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, among others, have drastic effect on youths and urged them to shun all forms of drug abuse.
Husseini challenged the social workers to find ways of preventing relapses by addicts who might have completed treatment at treatment centres or those that dropped out from hospitals without completing their treatment.
â€œAnother serious challenge is in the areas of stigmatisation against drug dependence persons in the society. Others are the types of programmes being run for these drug dependent persons at the treatment centres for drug dependent persons.
â€œTo overcome some of the challenges therefore, the need for capacity building for social welfare officers cannot be overemphasised. This would enable them to appreciate programmes required for this group of people and would also enable you to serve as guide to the implementation of these programmes at the centres,â€ he stated, adding that social welfare officers should also go a step further in assisting the addicts to adjust to new life after treatment.