ISSUP Marks World Drug Day 2024 with Seminar for

Vigilante Groups in Abia

Rev. Dr. Azu Kalu Oko


ISSUP Marks World Drug Day 2024 with Seminar for Vigilante Groups in Abia

The International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), Abia State Branch marked the World Drug Day 2024 with a Seminar for Vigilante Groups.

It held at the Cultural Centre, Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saint, Opposite Abia Hotels Limited, Aba-Owerri Road, Aba on Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

In his welcome remarks, one of the leading members of ISSUP, Abia State Branch, Rev. Dr. Azu Kalu Oko, a renowned counselling psychologist and Director, Life Circle Counselling and Research Centre, Aba said that they organized the seminar as part of the activities marking this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, otherwise known as World Drug Day with the theme, “The Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention,”

He appreciated the presence of so many dignitaries from various walks of life including NDLEA, Civil Defence Corps, Vigilante Groups, Man O’ War, students among others and enjoined them to support the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) launched by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) three years ago.

He restated ISSUP’s unwavering support for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in its fight against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the nation as well as preventing the citizenry from becoming victims to the drug scourge.

He emphasized that prevention is the most potent weapon to combat drug abuse adding that it would save lives and resources that would otherwise be spent on treatment and rehabilitation.

Thereafter, the resource persons presented their papers one after the other.

Dr. Stanley Nduagu


Speaking, Dr. Eugene Nwaoha ably represented by Dr. Stanley Nduagu enumerated some of the ugly effects of alcohol abuse such as mental imbalance, mood swings, violence, road accident, sexual abuse, crime among others stressing that the problem with alcohol abuse is that so many people still do not realize that alcohol is an illicit drug like hemp, cocaine, caffeine and others when misused.

He noted that a greater percentage of crime and other social vices in the society are perpetrated under the influence of alcohol.

According to him, investigations revealed that the case of Police Inspector Ibrahim Shagari who cut off his pregnant wife’s hand in Plateau State because of disagreement over N20, 000.00 and that of ASP Drambi Vandi who shot Bolanle Raheem, a Lagos based pregnant lawyer to death were committed under the influence of alcohol thus confirming alcohol as a hard drug when abused.

He called on all security men and law enforcement agencies in the nation to refrain from alcohol abuse so as to avoid the killing of innocent and law-abiding citizens they are supposed to protect as well as their colleagues.

In her paper titled, “Prevalence of Drug Abuse in Nigeria”, the Guest Lecturer, Mrs. Maurice Binta, the Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Prevention Unit, NDLEA, Abia State said that a drug is deemed to be abused when it is not medically prescribed or taken for a non-medical use.

She decried the prevalence of drug abuse in the nation saying that it has led to the untimely death of so many youths annually.

She called on parents to protect their children from drug menace in order not to ruin their life through effective monitoring of their behaviour and activities aimed at early detection and intervention.

She regretted that youths of nowadays take drugs to high morale, to forget their problems, to belong, to relax, to relieve boredom, to feel grown up, to change something in their lives, to give them power to work, to rebel, to experiment among others instead of engaging in meaningful activities.

She expressed worry that so many of them now resort to taking of unconventional drugs, which they improvise at their various homes such as dry cow dung, dry white lizard shit, dry paw-paw leaf, dry curry leaves including inhaling of correction fluid, super glue among others, which are more potent and deadlier than cocaine, heroin and cannabis put together.

She attributed the high incidence of crime and other social vices in the nation to drug abuse and called for all hands to be on deck in the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA).

She commended ISSUP for organizing the programme and inviting them to come and talk to the people about the harmful effects of drug abuse and prevention.

She urged the participants and other relevant stakeholders present to take a cue from ISSUP by organizing a similar enlightenment programme on drug prevention at their various locations and inviting them to come and talk to them.

Mrs. Maurice Binta lauded the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd) for the tremendous successes recorded by NDLEA in so many areas, especially in cutting off illicit drug supply channels and dismantling trafficking networks, arrest and prosecution of drug barons and traffickers under his remarkable leadership and called on all and sundry to join hands with the anti-drug agency to ensure a drug-free nation.


Rowland Chijioke Alozie


In her lecture titled, “Stigmatization of Drug Addicts: Understanding the Impact and Importance of Compassion for Addicts”, Hon. Dame Blessing Nwagba, Ph. D, a legendary political Amazon, Personnel Management and Industrial Relations guru, inimitable mentor to young Nigerian women interested in politics, and indomitable anti-drug abuse advocate represented by Rowland Chijioke Alozie said that the fear of stigmatization is why drug addicts die in silence instead of seeking for help and the support they need to overcome their addiction.

According to the renowned educationist, prolific writer and author of great repute in both local and international journals of Social Sciences, when a drug addict is not worth talking to it worsens his or her problem.

She advised the public to refrain from calling people who are struggling with substance-use-disorder drug addicts.

She said it is stigmatization and
has a negative effect on the healing of such ones as well as the society.

She called on the society to show understanding, compassion and support to persons with substance-use-disorder as it would enable healing and reduction in crime rate.

She decried the alarming incidence of drug abuse in the country adding that if no action is taken to stem its prevalence it would increase to 40 % in 2030 as projected by the National Bureau of Statistics Survey.

There was question and answer session at the end of the presentations and the guest lecturer, Mrs. Maurice Binta and others did justice to all the critical issues raised concerning drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the nation.

Ikechukwu Akunne, the PRO, NDLEA, Abia State Command


The seminar was a huge success. It was anchored by Ikechukwu Akunne, the PRO, NDLEA, Abia State Command with panache to the admiration of all and sundry. It came to an end with a closing remarks by Anthony Ihekuna.

He appreciated all those present for gracing the occasion as well as the resource persons for their amazing presentations.

He described the War Against Drug Abuse as everybody’s business and urged all to be part of it by volunteering useful information to ISSUP, NDLEA and other relevant stakeholders so as to rid the nation of drugs.

In a chat with Jideofor Ugwanyi, Signal Publisher, Rev. Dr. Azu Kalu Oko bared his mind on ISSUP, the World Drug Day 2024 and other sundry issues. Excerpts.

Sir, let us meet you.
I am Rev. Dr. Azu Kalu Oko. I hail from Abiriba in Ohafia local government area of Abia State. I am a senior lecturer at Abia State Polytechnic, Aba and the Director, Life Circle Counselling and Research Centre, Umungasi, Aba.

Can you tell us briefly about ISSUP?
The International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) is a group of professionals from different walks of life comprising behavioral and clinical psychologists, medical doctors, lecturers and others, who came together to help people who are into drug. The difference between us and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is that our own is more of seminars, workshops and conferences while NDLEA arrest and prosecute.

What are you celebrating here today?
Today, is the World Drug Day 2024. It is held on June 26, every year. All our branches in Nigeria are doing the same thing today. And on June 26, 2024, some of us would gather at NDLEA office here in Aba and close the week while others would go to NDLEA office at Umuahia-the capital city of Abia State.

What do you think is largely responsible for drug abuse and trafficking in the nation?
The socio-economic hardship in Nigeria is the root cause of drug abuse and trafficking. There is high rate of unemployment and poverty across the nation to the extent that so many people have resorted to taking drugs to forget their problems. I know of a woman who lost her job in one bread factory and before you know it she was into drugs and after awhile she became mad. Again, one of my clients who lost his job came home to stay with his mother and before you know it he broke her door with his legs one day and raped her under the influence of drug. Taking drugs is not the solution to any problem.

What is the solution?
There is need for improvement of the nation’s economy. The government should revive the economy and create more job opportunities for the nation’s teeming youths. If people are meaningfully engaged in one job or another they would not have time for drugs.

What is your take on the seminar?
It was successful. Some people were asking us why we chose that theme and I told them that we want to tell Vigilante Groups that the way they used to treat drug addicts is not acceptable. What they do is to beat them. After beating them they might become calm for some time but it does not solve the problem. So we wanted them to really know the best way to treat drug addicts. It does not stop it. That is why we gathered them here today. And for some of them who are into it drugs to know that they can come out of it depending on their level of addiction.

What is your parting word?
I want to tell the people out there to know that help is available. People should not stigmatize drug addicts because they know that they have a problem but they do not know where to go for help. So ISSUP is telling them to open up, tell them about their problem and if it is something they cannot handle they would refer them to specialists who would help them to come out of their problem. A drug addict is not cursed to perish. ISSUP can help drug addicts to come back to the right track and move forward.