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Our Youths And The Surging Drug Culture: One Hit is Too Much and a Thousand is Not Enough

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By Austin Okere

Nigerian reggae legend Majek Fashek dies at 57; was the screaming headline on BBC.com on June 02.  Fashek died in his sleep on 2 June 2020 in New York City. He was 57 and was battling esophageal cancer, while also known to be suffering from drug addiction.

Initially going by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, Fashek began his career as part of the trio Jastix before releasing his breakout solo hit in Nigeria, 1988’s ‘Send Down The Rain’, and its parent album ‘Prisoner Of Conscience’.

There is this myth that drugs enhance artistic inspiration. Even if there were so, it would be more correlative than causative since no study results that confines inspiration to drug consumption.

I wrote this article three years ago in October 2017, and it seems that not much has changed since then. What can we do to save or youth from the scourge of drugs?

I feel deeply compelled to write about this growing phenomenon of drugs and our youths. Much as I could join in playing the proverbial ostrich and draw false comfort by burying my head in the sand, I choose to call it out the way it is. This compulsion is deepened by the recent happenings in our promising Youth Music scene, with the deaths of three young people in just five days in Lagos, Nigeria.

Return To The 60’s Drug & Pop Culture?

It seems that we are speedily careening into the crazy drug & pop culture of the sixties fueled by a newfound liberalism, epitomized by Bands such as the Beetles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, and such icons as Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Fela Kuti et al.

In more recent climes, there have been notable drug casualties; Whitney Houston, more lovingly referred to as ‘The Voice’ for her incredible talent, was found dead in her bath at the Beverly Hilton Hotel after a cocaine overdose. Ironically, this happened on the eve of the Grammy Awards at the same hotel, she was just 48 years old. Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, just 22, died a few months later while in hospice care. She too was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Georgia home after a drug overdose.

41-year-old Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who had spoken about his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction was found dead apparently by suicide, by an employee in his private residence. His close friend, singer Chris Cornell also killed himself just before his 53rd birthday. Purple Rain singer, Roger Nelson, best known as Prince died of an opioid overdose in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, aged just 59.

There are scores of others, not nearly as popular, but nonetheless part of the growing statistics of those who have succumbed to the ugly scourge of hard drugs.

Drugs Always Have The Superior Power Of Addiction

“One hit is too much and a thousand is not enough” these were the words of a pretty, young woman miraculous saved from the clutches of drug addiction and featured on the Jubilee edition of Turning Point, a testimonial TV series. Undoubtedly, one of the very lucky few. She just wanted to try it out of curiosity and experimentation; and then again and again until it became a controlling habit.

Once you yield, you yield total control. Drugs always have the superior power of addiction, as has been proven time and again. There is a hard drug variety called Crystal Meth, where just one hit gets you totally hooked and has an accelerated path to mental destruction and painful death. As if this is not bad enough, Fentanyl is said to be far worse, and 50 times more potent than heroin.

Drugs Could Kill The Huge Potential Of Millennials

I see millennials as great architects of our future. That fearless generation at ease with technology & entrepreneurship, and fostering relationships across all divides regardless of race, nationality or class.

It is this same fearless adventurism that makes them the perfect target for hard drug experimentation and eventual dependency. This is not helped by the so-called mythical concept of a ‘Legal High’ and other such deceptive tags on hard drugs; whether they be cannabis or crystal meth. They all have the same destructive potential.

The mulling of legalizing marijuana in many countries in the developed world bodes a potential ill wind. It could massively affect our youth and destroy our collective future.

Do Not Be In A Rush To Send Off Your Kids

We need to be a bit skeptical about sending children away from our sphere of influence too early in their development. Should there be a need, it should be when they have attained sufficient maturity to stand on their own and have become comfortable in their own skins.

Many children sent overseas at great financial sacrifice by their parents for ‘superior’ education have run into trouble under the influence. Many have been rusticated from their schools with their parents none the wiser. They keep carrying on as if they are still in school, sinking deeper and deeper into bad company and ill influence until it is virtually too late for redemption.

It is expedient to insist on the school report of your ward detailing their progress in learning and character, and their current “Student Status” before wiring off next term’s fees. This is not a task to be delegated.

Watch Out! The Scourge is Here Too

On a note of caution, however, it is not only in these climes of relative wealth that drug abuse among the youth is rampant. The scourge has also become pervasive in erstwhile transit countries on the west coast of Africa. Children as young as in secondary schools (aged 16 years and below) have free access to drugs and do use them frequently to the blissful ignorance of parents and guardians. Youth Parties and Concerts tend to be high indulgent centers

Beware Of Over-The-Counter Drugs Too

The amount of “ordinary looking” over the counter drugs that kids are popping to alter moods is shocking. The popular Anna Nicole Smith died from a prescription drug overdose at the Hardrock Hotel in Hollywood. Legendary king of pop, Michael Jackson, suffered the same fate.

A False Sense Of Invincibility

There is, unfortunately, a sense of invincibility or false confidence about these kids; it cannot happen to me, notwithstanding the contrary evidence out there. How do we help our youth and especially the millennials guard against this scourge?

Perhaps we should be closer to our children and note any changes in behaviour that should alarm us. Talk with them regarding their friends, and make every effort to meet them. Create an environment where they can come to us in times of perplexity when they need to talk to someone. If we abdicate this responsibility, the vacuum created will be occupied by other influences, not the least peer pressure.

Friendship With Our Children Should Be Complemented By Parenting

We need to create time to play our parental roles and imbue into our children a moral compass with which they can properly navigate their way in life. Show by example rather than just talking; because children are extremely perceptive and tend to more easily copy our vices than following our advice.

We should all join hands in taking drastic steps to tackle this problem before it consumes our children and our future. America has taken a step by declaring an emergency on this opioid crisis. Perhaps the time has come for us to come up with our own action plan.

 

Austin Okere is the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest Security in the Technology sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Entrepreneur in Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network, and on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Intrapreneurship. Austin now runs the Ausso Leadership Academy focused on Business and Entrepreneurial Mentorship for Shared Prosperity.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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Facebook to Open Office in Lagos

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As part of its continued commitment and on-going investment in Africa, Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.

Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.

Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.

Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.

“All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance.

Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”

Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally.

This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID.

The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms.

“The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”


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Victor Osimhen Set Make His Debut For Napoli As Lampard Up Against Familiar Foes

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Football fans will enjoy another great weekend of football action as the new football season in Europe continues this weekend on DStv and GOtv.

The pick of Premier League matches this weekend is the meeting of Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 20 September, which will air live at 4:30pm on SS Premier League.

The Reds completed a league ‘double’ over the Blues last season, with the teams’ most recent meeting a 5-3 win for the Merseyside club in July.

Liverpool supporters have been concerned at their club’s relative lack of action in the transfer market (certainly compared to Chelsea, who have recruited heavily and brought in world-class talent such as Moroccan attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech, for example), but manager Jurgen Klopp insists he prefers working with a smaller group of players.

Lille’s Victor Osimhen in action during a UEFA Champions League soccer group stage match between Valencia CF and OSC Lille at Mestalla stadium on 05 November 2019. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Elsewhere, Manchester United will open their campaign with a clash at home to Crystal Palace in the early-evening kick-off on Saturday 19 September, on SS Premier League at 5:30pm.

It will be the first chance for new Red Devils signing Donny van de Beek to have a taste of competitive English football.

Also on Saturday, Everton will face West Bromwich Albion at 12:20pm while Leeds United will face Fulham at 3pm with the day closing off with Arsenal vs West Ham United at 8pm, all on SS Premier League.

The Premier League matches for the weekend will continue on Sunday 20 September with Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur at 12pm, Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion at 2pm and Leicester City vs Burnley at 7pm, all live on SS Premier League. On Monday 21 September, Aston Vila vs Sheffield United will air at 6pm and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City at 8:15pm both live on SS Premier League.

This weekend’s La Liga sees the return to action for champions Real Madrid, who open the defence of their title with a match away to Real Sociedad at Sam Sebastian on the evening of Sunday 20 September showing live on SS La Liga, SS GOtv La Liga and SS GOtv Football at 8:00pm.

La Liga is packed this weekend with other exciting matches airing live on SS La Liga and SS GOtv La Liga. Getafe vs Osasuna will air at 8pm on Friday 18 September, while Villarreal v Eibar at 3pm and Celta Vigo vs Valencia at 8pm will both air on Saturday 19 September.

On Sunday 29 September, Huesca will clash with Cadiz at 3pm and Granada will face Deportivo Alaves at 5:30pm. GOtv will crown the weekend matches with Real Betis vs Real Valladolid at 8pm on Monday 21 September

Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma (left) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

The headline match from Italy’s topflight this weekend sees champions Juventus open the defence of their title with a match at home to Sampdoria in the late kick-off on Sunday 20 September at 7:45pm on SS Football, SS Variety 3 and SS GOtv Select 1.

All eyes will be on new manager, Andrea Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the head of the Bianconeri in the off season.

Another key game this weekend will give Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen the chance to make his competitive debut for Napoli when they face Parma on Sunday afternoon, having joined the club for a huge fee from Lille a few weeks back. This will air at 11:30am live on SS Football, SS Variety 3, SS GOtv Select 1 and SS GOtv Football.

SuperSport remains the only platform to get English commentary from the legendary La Liga.

Don’t miss the 2020-21 football season on SuperSport on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstvafrica.com and www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade and join in on the excitement. While you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.

 


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