Kids-galore, the cow-throwdown and the scorching heat: All that went down in Abuja!

When we say we last week was PACKED, we mean that in the best of ways! The MTN-led Anti-Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) was in full swing, with so much to learn and take in all at once.

The Abuja City Gate as we zoomed by

Abuja was an awesome place to spend a week skipping around from Gwagwalada to Maitama, to Zuba to Abaji and on and on. It was something else! There’s really no slowing down the ASAP bus.

Our first stop was at the Zuba Market along Zuba Road, Abuja. As soon as we stepped our feet into the market, we knew why it was the first port of call – there were so many children!

In no time, the kids were glued to the eye-grabbing drama piece performed by the Abuja chapter of the NYSC, and other exciting activities specially created to keep their attention while informing them about substance abuse.

On Wednesday, June 26th, 2019, we moved on to the ASAP National Conference at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, where the number of dignitaries present almost left us dazed. However, it was the perfect opportunity to learn from that many experienced people under one roof.

After sharing her experience in the slums of Lagos and the reason why a multi-stakeholder initiative like ASAP was important, Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo, the Wife of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, regaled us with a beautiful song. You don’t believe it? Watch the video your self.

We enjoyed every high and low note of the song.

The panel was a must-see with speakers like the First Lady, Kebbi State, H.E. Dr. Zainab Bagudu; Board Member, Freedom Foundation, Dr. Osasuyi Dirisu; Country Representative, UNODC, Mr. Oliver Stolpe and Founder, Pinnacle Medical Services, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri.

What we learned can fit into 6 newsletters and some more!

After soaking up all we could from Nigeria’s strongest voices in the fight against substance-abuse, we went for the ASAP Awareness Walk on Thursday.

We walked from the Old Parade Ground, Garki, through Area 10 till we got to the Millenium Park! *Whew*

Hundreds of young volunteers from various locations around the FCT joined in to make a unified statement against substance abuse and addiction.

PS: We are the fittest we have ever been. Lol!

By Friday, we were in ‘Gwags’ (Gwagwalada market) surrounded by even more children under the impossible sun! Gwags has its own sun, you can’t tell us anything else.

It was inspiring to teach the little ones how to identify the different substances and to get them to understand why they needed to stop taking their daily doses of unprescribed pain killers. It wasn’t easy at first, but they understood finally.

We are thankful for teammates like Abdullahi who helped us break down any language barriers. Hausa, English, French, it doesn’t matter – the message will be spread.

And we can’t forget the time we got lost in ‘Wuye’ and two cows fought right in front of the car! Well, you don’t see that every time in Lagos…

See, Abuja was fantastic! Getting to spread the word about substance abuse and the need to stay off drugs was even more fulfilling.

Next up will be Bauchi! Let’s do this!

Source BHM
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