The Olowu of Owu, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. Saka Matemilola, on Monday, called for support to fight the menace of drugs and substance abuse among youths.
He described the havoc such anti-social behaviour wreak among youths as huge.
Oba Matemilola spoke at a press conference held in his palace to kick off the celebration of 2023 Odun Omo Olowu with the theme ‘A New Dawn’.
He urged Nigerians to keep hope alive over the biting economic realities in the country because even the rich were lamenting.
He said the antidote to the prevailing harsh realities of the economy in the country was for the people to adjust to the realities on the ground by learning to live within their means while cutting their coats according to their clothes.
Oba Matemilola also noted that as part of efforts aimed at redirecting the path of the youth in the kingdom, the Owu Kingdom, in collaboration with other stakeholders such as Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Positive Youths and Family Life Mission Centre among others, have embarked on an intensive campaign against drug abuse among the youths.
“It is essential we synergise with people and groups of like minds to fight the evil of drug and substance abuse among our youths. We all know the evil of drugs and how destructive it could be in the lives of our youths. It is against this background that we are taking the lead to further support our youth to fight off this challenge.
“We have some groups that we work with like NDLEA, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Positive Youths and Family Life Mission Centre among others. We equally have a dedicated line that people may call to seek help. We have some of these drug addicts that have been treated and discharged. This is a noble cause that requires the support of all of us.
“On the issue of the harsh economy, we are all in it even the rich also cry. All we have to do is to adjust to the realities on the ground. Let’s learn to live within our means and income. Let’s cut our coats according to our clothes”, the Owu monarch said.
Oba Matemilola officially declared open the celebration with inter-faith prayer sessions and commencement of medical outreach for the people of the Kingdom.
Briefing newsmen on the activities lined up to celebrate the annual festival which runs from Monday to Saturday, Oba Matemilola noted that the festival was the kingdom’s flagship aimed at fostering a spirit of unity among the Owu people, both at home and abroad.
The monarch added that the annual festival was also organized to celebrate and showcase Owu’s rich cultural heritage as well as to create an opportunity to strengthen relationships between Owu communities and their neighbours.
Other activities lined up for the event include visits to Owu townships within and outside Abeokuta; an arts and crafts exhibition, free medical outreach as well as conferment of traditional titles on deserving individuals.
The traditional ruler submitted that Owu Kingdom would continue to make facilities available to enhance the socio-economic growth and development of vulnerable indigenes.