I hold a BSc in accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. While in school, I had a respective taste of school and off campus accommodation at some intervals of my four-year undergraduate programme.
Contrary to the safety and the luxury to freely move around within the campus my hostel accommodation offered, the off campus experience was like another wall of the school where ones safety is never guaranteed ( as generally believed)
While I was off campus, I lived in a fenced house that had both male and female occupants. Next to my apartment was quite a good looking neighbour (name withheld) who smokes with friends different kinds of substances (as seen littered in his balcony) as well as the stereotyped northern shisha that is considered medicinal by some in the north.
At a point, I thought it needful to advise him upon creating a reasonable acquaintance, he never looked offended when I started the counselling process with him and would appreciatively promise to quit.
Already enslaved by addiction, he changed the smoking pattern. You would literarily not believe he has ever smoked or been used to drugs as his balcony, corridor and entrance to his apartment weren’t seen soiled with drug substances afterwards.
The drug abusing and smoking sessions got camouflaged but unfortunately, the offensive smell of the substances persisted with traces hanging around him and if by chance caught unaware (smoking) he abruptly drags his feet over the substance to conceal.
My neighbour’s addiction was clear, having realized how fruitless a continued counselling would remain, I stopped buying his attention for advice ( a decision I made for security reasons, however regrettable because I never knew if I could have succeeded in killing his addiction and of course help stop the abuse ).
I got a shocker when two ladies moved in as new occupants of a vacant flat. Unfriendly as their relationship with others in the compound was, greeting was the only connection we all had with them. These ladies took pride in smoking the so called shisha and schooled whoever spots them in the act about how medicinal shisha is. Without delay, I gave up on these two.
Going back on memory lane of my NYSC year, I served in a village in Osun State, my place of primary assignment was Junior secondary school, the principal of the school (transferred during my service year ) was a unanimously defined drug addict.
His office can best be described as abhorrent with drug substances disguised in juice packs and beautifully decorated on his table. It’s safe to say he had pledged allegiance to the spirit of drug addiction because the stench that comes from his office can only be found comforting by one with no spiritual conscience to leave its abuse.
With utter regards for the principal and his office, I thought counselling him would seemingly put my assignment with the school in jeopardy. Some students weren’t equally left out of the menace of drug abuse in the village.
Sensitising them wasn’t safe. Staff and other corps members had warned to be wary of the student’s activities or risked being lynched.
Funny as it may sound, gist had it that some provision stores and bars mostly managed by women (our mothers) are known retailers of weed. I had a firsthand experience with a woman whose “puff–puff” i patronize afternoons of week days.
To my dismay one afternoon, the women secretly gave a wrapped piece of white paper to a boy in exchange for money, I realized she was one of retailers of weed too after some digging.
Still with no liberty to speak against this, I stopped my patronage with her and advised other friends to follow suit.
However, these women may not be smokers or drug abusers but they were active in the supply chain because of the monetary gains and not concerned about the aftermath it leaves our youths (leaders of tomorrow) with.
The red eyed and ill tempered nature of most youths in the village often gets one petrified. A village where majority of the student in schools can’t fluently speak English, thus forcing teachers to put a blend of local dialect with English for effective understanding.
Another setback would have been me taking the risk to sensitize the perceived drug abusers. Would it be worth taking against all odds?
As a corps member who naively fell prey to advice given by some concerned staff in my place of primary assignment, I lost the responsibility of touching the lives of the encountered drug abusers in my service year.
Having had better orientation on the possible ways to sensitize drug abusers after my service year, I feel indebted to any abuser in letting my voice against the menace heard with every sense of diplomacy or built synergy as it may however demand.