By Adedotun Ajayi
The future of many Nigerian youths who the nation looked up to as future leaders has been destroyed by crime, illicit drugs violent activities and cultism which are negative elements that complement one another.
The youths are vulnerable to a lot of influences as a result of their mental, psychological and physical disposition and as such are easily lured into negative activities.
The youths are the future leaders and hope of a nation. One wonders what the future holds for the Nigerian youths as a good proportion of them are either into secret cult, yahoo yahoo or drugs. Drug abuse, internet fraud and cultism are globally prevalent social menace which has led to loss of life and property, violence, social disharmony, breakdown of norms and values. Unfortunately, efforts made from different quarters of the Nigerian nation to curb the ills have so far yielded very little or no result; drug abuse, internet fraud and cultism still remain threatening social problems and serious obstacle to peace and harmony.
According to the World Health Organization, drug and substance abuse refers to the harmful use of psychoactive substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs.
The abuse of drugs and other substances and associated crime have driven the considerable rise in the number of youths imprisoned in recent years. A report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria indicates that 14 percent (14.3 million) of people aged between 15 and 64 years abuse drugs.
Experts believe there’s a strong link between drug abuse and crime. In a telephone conversation with The Hope psychologist, Bukun Phil, said drug abuse and crime are two significant societal issues that affect people of all ages, but they have a particularly strong link to youths. The link between youths and drug abuse and crime can be attributed to various factors, including peer pressure, parental neglect, poverty, and mental health issues.
According to him; “Peer pressure is one of the most significant factors that contribute to drug abuse and crime among youths. Young people often feel the need to fit in with their peers, and this can lead them to experiment with drugs and engage in criminal activities. They may feel that they need to prove themselves to their peers or that they will be left out if they don’t participate in these activities.
Parental neglect is another factor that contributes to drug abuse and crime among youths. When parents fail to provide their children with the support and guidance they need, young people may turn to drugs and crime as a way of coping with their problems. This can be particularly true for children who come from broken homes or who have experienced abuse or neglect.
Poverty is another factor that contributes to drug abuse and crime among youths. Young people who grew up in poverty may feel that they have no other options but to turn to drugs and crime to survive. They may feel that they have no other way to make money or that they have no hope for the future.
“Mental health issues are also a factor that contributes to drug abuse and crime among youths. Young people who struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or trauma may turn to drugs and crime as a way of coping with their problems. They may feel that drugs and crime provide them with a temporary escape from their problems.”
He said further, another factor that contributes to drug abuse and crime among youths is the lack of opportunities. Young people who grow up in communities with limited opportunities may feel that they have no other options but to turn to drugs and crime. They may feel that they have no other way to make a living or that they have no hope for the future.
The media also plays a role in the link between youths and drug abuse and crime. Young people are often exposed to images of drug use and criminal activity in movies, music, and video games. This can normalize these behaviors and make them seem more acceptable to young people.
The education system can also contribute to the link between youths and drug abuse and crime. Young people who struggle in school may feel that they have no other options but to turn to drugs and crime” he concluded.”
In the same vein, Khalid Okunade, a legal practitioner, said hardly would anyone see a yahoo boy who is not on drugs. It’s part of the lifestyle, because they believe it makes them “active”.
According to him; “in recent years, we can all see the decay in our society where drug abuse, fraudulent activities and criminality are now the order of the day. Yahoo boys are mostly cult members, we see these things online everyday, where some yahoo boys would go after their fellow yahoo boys with cult members because of a failed transaction. They work hand in hand.
One of the main reasons why these yahoo boys still operate is because the issue of drug abuse has eaten too deep into their lives that I see no redemption anytime soon, they use their earnings from fraud to purchase more drugs, so apparently money is not the problem,” he said
Also, Adebiyi Adegoke, a life coach, said there is a strong link between drug abuse and criminals. “Yes, I think I would categorize them as criminals, I mean those involved in yahoo yahoo and secret cults and yes most of these often commit crimes while under the influence of drugs because drugs can impair judgment, increase aggression, and lower inhibitions, making it easier for people to commit crimes that they might not otherwise have committed.
Additionally, drug addiction can lead people to engage in criminal activities to obtain drugs or money to buy more drugs, that’s why fraudulent activities come in. However, it’s important to note that not all people who use drugs commit crimes, and not all criminals are under the influence of drugs when they commit crimes,” he said.