As the students gathered into the Alvan Ikoku Federal University auditorium on the 10th of July 2019 talking among themselves and listening to the musical mixes of DJ Fresh, the Student Union members inclusive of the president and vice and Faculty members also take their respective seats and are presented with participant tags branded Samuel Mary& Dame Emily Obiyo Foundation T-shirts.
The energetic student volunteers pass around the program of the day included with a free handout to the students and as the faculty heads are introduced by MC Duke, the speakers prepare their materials and talk discreetly among themselves.
Right after the opening prayer, National Anthem and pledge, taking to the stage first was Anthonia Annie Obilana – Executive Director/Obiyo Foundation, she addresses the students and gives them a brief background about herself putting them at ease to set the tempo of the seminar.
Annie informs the students the foundation’s aim “we are not here to accuse you all of substance abuse, studies show that young people are less likely to abuse drugs when they are educated on the dangers. We want to harm you with knowledge so that we can prevent drug abuse at its roots.” She speaks firmly and eloquently often pausing to make sure that the students are still with her, she explains what the contents of the handouts hold and the impact that the students themselves can make on the fight against drugs.
Next to deliver her speech was Dr. Oparah, who gave a good amount of information about the differences between the different types of drugs and the impacts of their addiction.
Highlighting the five main reasons, she said “There are many reasons why people go into the habit, but there are five main reasons and these include Peer Pressure, Frustration, Idleness, Ignorance and Curiosity. When your peers tell you to try it because it did not hurt them but you do not know the harm they are doing to themselves because all you see is them on the outside, do not fall into that trap”.
Dr. Oparah was sure to cover all the basis of what tell signs to look out for in others if you suspect they might be drug abusing.
Followed by her informative speech was Dr. Anokam, she changed the tempo of the seminar and gave facts on the percentage of drug use in all the states, the students were shocked to hear that in the south east region of Nigeria, Imo state had the highest abuse of Cannabis at over 18%.
The students voiced their disbeliefs. This opened up the next agenda on the program which was the open questions segment, one of the questions asked by student Okoro Ebele was “If illicit drugs have no economic and health value why are they still made available to the society?” she was answered by Annie of Samuel Mary & Dame Emily Obiyo Foundation “Illicit drugs are made available to help people but they are still abused, illicit drugs are not made available to the society but are smuggled in by people who benefit from the depreciation of the community and prey upon the weakness in times of frustration. The fact is we may not have the power to fully end drug abuse; however as human beings we have the power to care about what happens to our community by influencing the statistics from one in three using drugs to two in three influencing the last one against using drugs”. This answer was greeted with a round of applause and both Dr. Oparah and Dr. Anokam adding to the answer that as people our duty is to help those among us who abuse drugs with the help of the school resources, they shared the location of the guidance counselor and she also introduced herself to the students for those that did not know who she was.
The closing speech was then delivered by Anthonia Annie Obilana on behalf of Samuel Mary & Dame Emily Obiyo Foundation and the Founder Dr. Uzoma Obiyo K.S.C. she thanked the students for their robust participation and informed them that refreshments had been provided by the foundation. In the final words the mission, vision and main goal of the foundation was repeated and the students where directed to the various social media handles and website www.obiyofoundation.org.
After the closing prayer, the seminar ended on a very optimistic note with many students voicing that other informative programs and workshops should be introduced more often to them. The program was a success and as the students ate and enjoyed the music, only positive reviews could be heard around the auditorium.