COME ALIVE INITIATIVE, CADAM, OYC-PATNER TO REHABILITATE & PROVIDE SKILLS ACQUISITION FOR DRUGS ADDICTED YOUTHS IN ONITSHA.
The scourge of hard drugs and its consequences on Onitsha youth have been a source of grave concern to the people of Onitsha. In answer to this, The Obi of Onitsha, HRH Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe CFR, has thrown his full support behind a new campaign aimed at getting Onitsha youths out and away from drugs through rehabilitation and skill acquisition programmes organised by CADAM and OYC. The rehabilitaion programmed directly targets youths who have made a decision to quit drugs and arranges them in batches.
Our correspondent Victor Chuboy Ifeajuna was at the Ime-Obi Ezechima, Awka Road and spoke with the National Coordinator Come Alive Initiative, Pat Agha Mba and Pastor Chuddy Mmaduegbuna of CADAM in a question and answer interview.
InlandTown: Good morning Sir, please can we meet you?
Victor Enwezor: My name is Victor Chukwuweike Enwezor.
InlandTown: Where are you from?
Victor Enwezor: I am a native of Onitsha.
InlandTown: Please tell us about the programme I can see you with some young men around?
Victor Enwezor: We are the Come and Alive Initiative and I am a national coordinator. Come and Alive Initiative was founded through our observation of drug related issues both trafficking, peddling and abuse in our community and we found out that a lot young guys want to be traffickers, to move out of the country. However, you find roaming around the street of Europe and America and all over the world and some end up in jail. We felt concerned and decided that we need to begin to educate young people on why they should look for a genuine means of livelihood where they can build a career. You can’t build a career in drug trafficking , illegality and anything that the government and society abhors. In the course of that, I met with Pastor Chudy Maduegbuna who is actually a minister of God with the Redeemed Christian Church of God and he was also handling the same kind of situation concerning sensitization on drug abuse.
We started discussing and he felt we have a challenge in the community and we need to come back home to begin our campaign and try to advice young ones to shun and avoid trafficking. We also got involved in the rehabilitation. When we came around last year, we spoke with the students and along the line we met with Hon. Patrick Agha Mba who is the president of Onitsha Youth Council and agreed to collaborate with us in this programme and activities.
So we started the first set , sensitizing our young students through the Onitsha Ado students Association and started talking to them on dangers of drug use and we started the rehabilitation process. We have been involved in sensitization since then and during last year’s Ofala, we spoke to people, spoke to parents, but the issue is that we need to improve in our advocacy.
Onitsha has been a community known for intergrity, hard work and diligence, known for success in various fields and sector of life. Those strong achievements of our heroes past and our forebearers were not achieved through drug peddling, trafficking or drug abuse. Those things were achieved through hard work, through studies. We had the finest Doctors, Engineers and others who were not drug addicts.
InlandTown: How did you come up with the name Come Alive, Why Come Alive?
Victor Enwezor: When we came up with the name of our initiative, we called it “Come Alive Initiative” because a man who either smoking, peddling ,abusing or trafficking is a dead man that needs to come alive and bring the best out of him, so that Onitsha can continue to stand where ever it is. That is not to say that our campaign is restricted to Onitsha, our campaign is a global campaign and we are willing to take the campaign anywhere. We are not interested in fighting or quarreling with anybody because even the man who peddles,sells, traffics or abuses drugs needs help because he is not doing the right thing. We need to encourage the legacy of hardwork, diligence and a studious community. I think that’s why we are getting involved in what we are doing so that at the end of the day we should be able to boost our human resources once again. The numbers of persons who get involved in the these abuse of drugs could have been the best of lawyers, doctors, Engineers, inventors and others. We need to assist. We are calling on the community , the government and everybody in which ever way, everything is not all about money.
InlandTown: Do the users come voluntarily?
Victor Enwezor: Through the sensitization, they themselves decided that the lifestyle they were living is no more enjoyable or encouraging. Feeling dejected in the community and in the society they need a new life. Nobody is forced to be part of this, it’s part of one’s willful volition.
InlandTown: What are the contributions from the palace Obi in council are they in full support?
Victor Enwezor: If we were not getting the full support of Obi of Onitsha we wouldn’t be here. We are here because from when we started this program the Obi of Onitsha has been part and parcel of this program. On the day of our launch, he requested that we should form an ambassadors group , a group of young people who will also go out to campaign against this menace in our society. He supported in every way, through cash, advice and in all angles that you can imagine. He was present in our first outing and in this second edition. He was also present not minding his busy schedule. In the first edition, we went back with two young men from the community and they are living testimonies today.
InlandTown: Are they around?
Victor Enwezor: Yes they are around and that is why they came back, went into town and started telling others. We have about 8 people in our second batch going with us. We believe that by the grace of God they will succeed in that program for 1 year and will have a changed life and would come back and become ambassadors for the crusade to continue.
The president of Onitsha Youth Council (OYC) Hon. Patrick Agha Mba also commented on the involvement of the youth council in sensitizing the youths as it concerns the youths mostly in this interview he has this to say.
InlandTown: Sir I can see that you are involve in this programme (Come and Alive Initiative) What is the contribution of the president of OYC?
Pat Agha Mba: Well this is a community development programme and OYC is a very important group in the Onitsha kingdom. OYC is a group or body that has contributed immensely in the community towards development especially in the aspect of youth programmes; we are one of the stake holders in the kingdom. When you talk about stake holders, you talk about those who stake and who contribute positively towards the development of the community. All hands must be on deck because it’s a collective responsibility. Agbogidi can not do it alone that’s why we rally round him doing everything to help achieving his target of rehabilitating and giving skills to youths who are into drugs as it is a very serious problem to the society. I want to commend Pastor Chudy Maduegbuna & Charles Okechukwu of CADAM management under the platform of RCCG and also the Come Alive Initiative of which our brother Victor Enwezor is the national coordinator. OYC was involved through the Obi in council because it’s a youths programme. We succeeded in the first batch and we also trust God that the second batch will also be a success.
The CADAM representative under RCCG made this contribution as he spoke with our correspondent.
Chudy Mmadegbuna: My name is Pastor Chudy Maduegbuna of the Redeemed Christian Church of God under CADAM. This is a campaign to help Onitsha youths to get out of drugs . What we have done was to collaborate with Come Alive Initiative to help Onitsha youths for the CADAM programme which is a 1 year programme at lagos.
InlandTown: Please can you explain the full meaning of CADAM?
Chudy Mmaduegbuna: CADAM is Christ Against Drug Abuse , it’s an NGO that concentrates on drug demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation and it’s an international NGO. They have rehabilitation centers in lagos; one for women and two for men.
InlandTown: Do you think it is a good thing when a rehabilitation center is sited here in south east?
Chudy Mmaduegbuna: Definitely it would be a good thing because Nigeria is drug infested. Our leaders are paying lip service to this case but I tell you Nigeria has become a consuming nation and they are so many drugs in Nigeria especially alcohol and Indian hemp. We believe that testimonies will come up in 1 year time with this young men
InlandTown: What is your advice to the youth of Onitsha?
Chudy Mmaduegbuna: My advice to the youths is that if you have not tasted it say no to drugs, We will be coming again in March and April to take another batch. We take people for rehabilitation and skill acquisition programmes twice a year i.e. March-April and towards the end of August-September. So watch out for this programme. The first 6 month is for computer, dry cleaning, barbing, soap making, tailoring, detergent, insecticides, bar soap and leather works e.g. shoe making, bags etc.
Micheal Ifeanyichukwu Molokwu and Ebuka Onochie who were among the first batch came back with testimonies then went into town and began to tell others. Hence the large turn out of the second batch. They confirmed that their lives were in shambles rejected and dejected by the society and community because it has led them to be bad people in the society. As for Michael who was taken over by alcohol he revealed that he had slept in the gutter several times after being drunk of “ogogoro” or “kia kia” (native hot drink) mentioning up to 14 local joints where they converge to drink to stupor. They both advised that the youths should stay out and away from drugs and thanked the Come and Alive Initiative, CADAM, OYC, Obi in council, HRH Obi Achebe (Agbogidi) and most of all the Almighty God who gave them the grace to change.