by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
An NGO, the ‘Eye Opener Women and Youth Foundation,’ and winner of World Health Organization (WHO) 2021 and 2022 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Award, has inaugurated what it calls, “Hausa Tobacco and Substance Abstinence Club” in Hausa-dominated community in Tudun Wada area of Kaduna metropolis, marking World Drug Day.
The inauguration, which took place shortly after a community dialogue on challenges of drugs and substance abuse in health and humanitarian crises, is targeted at women and their roles in preventing abuses in the life of the children, teenager and youths.
According to President of the foundation, Mrs Margaret Julius, “Some parents are in the habits of contributing factors to the challenge of substance misuse in their children.”
She said, on several accessions, she had seen women leaving their children that are not up to 8 yrs begging and picking tin cans in the trash to go and sell, adding that the act is the highest level of child abuse “because these little children are exposed to the world at very tender age and also exposed to substances at very tender age that their brain is not fully developed.
During the dialogue, most of the participating women admitted that majority of the mothers are also into drugs. “According to one of the women,” Haj Hauwa Mohammed said “some married women peer group are still single; thus, they visit and introduce to them different substances and bad counseling on how to rule their homes.”
She, therefore, called on married women to abstain from bad friends and stay closer to their children and husbands.
Another woman, bearing Fatima Mohammed, of the Alkalawa Road Tudun Wada, revealed that a participant on her side said that some mothers are hiding and covering the bad deeds of their children even when their attention are drawn to the bad habits.
She also said some women would go as far as fighting anyone that would speak against their children on their substance misuse habits or the attitude.
Fatima, however, attributed hardship of life and poverty as one of the challenges also leading some women into drug abuse, amongst women that took into drugs, making them “setting the pace for their children on it.”
She, therefore, appealed to mothers to be patient and prayerful for things to change in the positive; also calling on mothers to open up and seek for help whenever they notice a change in the life of their children.
Accordingly, one Mrs. Ikpegbu Eunice Ifesinachi of the Foundation spoke at length on the effects of tobacco and substance abuse on women, pregnancy, children and family.
She said any substance use that affects the body negativity should be avoided, saying sincerely that tobacco is dangerous to the user’s lungs, respiration and skin, and affects the general well-being of the user.
Mrs Ifesinachi further explained that tobacco and substance intake could affect a pregnant woman through the umbilical cord where there is distribution in blood flow, “which can lead to still birth and infant mortality.”
She added that drug abuse does not solve issues, but only compounds it. She also spoke to the women of the importance of their sound mind as mothers and stressed the need for them to think and clarify. “They need a sound mind, free of drug influence,” she retorted.
She also said that “Tobacco smoking is a window to other substances when you become tolerant and addicted. The users can do anything to get reach of their content, even if it means to lie, take, rub, even with weapons; and it also enhances social vices.
“So, say “No” and a big “NO” to tobacco and substance use today, in order to save the life of the unborn baby and your health, and also for your good reputation in the community.”
A community leader, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim (Sarkin Gabas), who benefitted from the Recovery Allies Training organized by the Foundation, also witnessed the occasion. He remarked that, on his side, he thanked the Foundation for coming and opening the eyes of the women on the danger of tobacco and other substances, adding that, “The women are more organized and can easily connect to each other whenever there is a beneficial program like this.”
According to him, the Tobacco and Substance Abstinence Club is going to be in different units in their areas for the married women, the unmarried ladies and the youths.
He promised to keep an eye to the well-being of the community, even as one Rukaiya, the community Women Leader, thanked the Foundation for coming to open the eyes of the women on their roles to help in reducing the immensity of tobacco use and drugs abuse in Alkalawa Road community, Tudun Wada.
The Foundation also gave Rukaiya the leadership of the tobacco abstinence club of the area, who promised that they will rise and work with the women in the community and also join hands with the foundation to save lives of the children, teenagers and youths from tobacco and substance misuse.
An old woman, Hafsi Hussaini, on her part, said she has been counseling many youths about substance misuse, and many of them are changing for good – even seeking for her blessing and prayers.
She said the coming of the Tobacco and Substance Abstinence Club will make her work more on the youths, saying she is fully in support of been a full member of the tobacco and substance abstinence club.
Secretary to the District Head of Gwagwada and the Coordinator of Hausa program of the Eye Opener Foundation, Mallam Lawal Magaji (Mabudin Gwagwada) on his part, drew the attention of the women on what their faith is saying about substances.
He advised the mothers to feed their children well and take good care of their homes. Mallam Lawal in the inauguration of the tobacco and substance abstinence club, sworn-in the women into the Club in Hausa language and emphasized that the Club is just for teaching people how to stay abstained from tobacco and substance misuse, and also to become a “No Tobacco and Substance” advocate.
The Tobacco and Substance Abstinence Club jacket was presented to the women leader, and the foundation promised to give every active member the jacket.
The President of the Foundation, Mrs Margaret Julius, told the Tudun Wada women that everyone will one day give account to their creator on how she raised – and cared – for her children.
Mrs Julius stressed that “Children are God’s treasures. Tobacco is, indeed, a threat to our community; thus, all hands must be on deck to curtail its negative impact on people in the society.”