The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed that plans had been concluded by his administration to tackle the menace of drug, substance abuse, and mental meltdown among youths across the state through empowerment and equipping the younger generations with necessary human-based skills.
He added that the challenge of drug abuse had been aggravated by high rate of unemployment, underemployment, and other economic factors and that the state has resolved to tackle the root cause of the menace through training youths on needed skills to survive in the 21st century.
To tackle the menace, Sanwo-Olu said, his government would embark on massive construction and rehabilitation of different youth center across the state in achieving the administration agenda of inclusive government and youth empowerment.
Speaking yesterday while inaugurating the Abesan Youth Centre, the governor said that the move was aimed at facilitating robust youth engagement and enhance activities geared towards moulding the character of young people positively in their communities.
According to him, building of modern youth centres represented a thrust of our administration’s development agenda aimed at cultivating a healthy youth population that would be self-reliant and entrepreneurially oriented.
He disclosed that seven other youth centres would be completed in the coming months in Badagry, Epe, Obalende-Ikoyi, Orile-Agege, Ibeju Lekki, Surulere, and Ikorodu.
“It is my pleasure to inaugurate the Abesan Youth Centre, which embodies our commitment to a legacy of youth development and the acceleration of social development programmes. This articulates my administration’s readiness to focus on youth engagement and social works as a means of promoting equitable economic prosperity for all Lagosians. We will not deviate from this plan, as we are determined to meaningfully engage our youths, which is why this kind of modern Youth Centre is being replicated in other parts of the State.
“Cultivating healthy youth population that is vibrant, self-reliant, entrepreneurial and industrious is a major thrust of this administration’s development agenda. As a Government, we will play our role in eradicating the menace of substance abuse, which is why this centre is also equipped with a counselling room, where our youth will be mentored and also have access to trained counselors who are able to provide the therapy needed to overcome mental and substance abuse issues,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu, however, urged young people to seize the opportunity to be trained and get equipped for the future. He also asked them to freely register at the youth centre for vocational courses of their choice from next month.
He assured those who will enroll for training would be fully supported by the government until they are able to stand on their own.
On his part, the state’s Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Segun Dawodu, said that the youth centre was specifically remodelled with youth friendly amenities to meet the contemporary needs of young people, noting that the facility would help build their mental and physical health.
Features in the Abesan Youth Centre include children playing ground, a multi-purpose court with a spectators’ stand, gym, kitchen, offices, vocational training department, and a grassed football pitch with spectators’ gallery that can also be used by Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs). The State Government also provided 200 KVA transformer and generating set to provide electricity in the centre.