Osi Nelson (Assistant Editor)
Youths in most parts of Nigeria are said to be deep in drugs and their abuses. Most violent crimes in the nation are blamed on this. Now, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it is fighting the menace in the oil region by promoting traditional values through cultural revival.
The Commission has thus emphasised the need to promote the culture and ethos of the Niger Delta region so as to inculcate the right values to the young ones and curb drug abuse.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this at the 2018 Arts and Culture Festival which the Commission organised in conjunction with the Iwonwa Empowerment Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation, in Port Harcourt.
Speaking on behalf of the NDDC Managing Director, the Deputy Director in Youths, Sports, Culture and Women Affairs , Mrs Mercy Mbata, said that the Commission would do all that was necessary to keep the youths away from illicit drugs and harmful practices.
Mbata explained: “The NDDC believes in promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Niger Delta people at large and our host communities in particular. We, therefore, enjoin others to emulate this gesture as we will do our best as an agency of development to collaborate and partner with other organisations that will be committed in promoting the culture of our people.
“We should be proud to showcase our rich cultural heritage to the world at any given point, especially because the culture of the people of the region is unique.”
The NDDC Director lamented that the youths in the region were derailing and getting involved in nefarious activities, a situation she said prompted the interventionist agency to join in promoting a return to the region’s rich cultural values.
Mbata said that it was necessary to re-orientate the youths to get them to appreciate the core values of their forefathers. According to her, “we need to change the mind-set of our youths to take them away from criminality and thus improve the general security of the region.”
The Secretary of Iwonwa Empowerment Initiative, Mrs Sarah Ogbugo, said that Niger Delta people should cherish what they have, as there was no place like home. She added: “We should be proud of our culture and promote it at every opportunity.”
She thanked the NDDC for supporting the programme which was meant to encourage the youths to imbibe positive values and shun deviant behaviours that impede the development of the Niger Delta region.
The cultural festival witnessed traditional fashion parade, drama, music and dance, as well as masquerade displays.