By Polycarp Auta
Mrs Martha Paul, a 60-year-old resident of Tudun Wada Community in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau, has decried the rising intake of dry gin, popularly known as “Goskolo”, among youths in Plateau.
Martha told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Jos that the substance claimed the life of her only son.
“I lost my son to goskolo; he was hooked on it and it killed him,” she said.
The petty trader said that her late son was a 300 level student of University of Jos when he died in 2022.
NAN reports that the liquid substance, which is also known as ”ogogoro” or ”kai-kai”, is far stronger than the average alcohol.
It is a spirit drink locally made in homes and hardly go through the usual process of gin production.
“My son developed complications that later affected his internal organs due to high consumption of the illicit drink.
”As we speak, my heart is heavy. No mother should experience my pains. This is why parents must play close attention to what their children are doing.
”I also want to appeal to young people to desist from taking illicit substances. Drug abuse is generally dangerous to our health and society as a whole,” she said.
She called on the goverment to ban the production and consumption of goskolo, insisting that such step would curtail the challenges that usually arise with its consumption.
On his part, Mr Agwom Azi, the community leader of Mado in Tudun Wada, decried the consumption of illicit substances by young people in the area.
Azi attributed the increasing rate of petty crimes and other social vices in the community to high intake of hard drugs by young people.
He added that the trend was constituting serious threats to the existing peace in Tudun Wada.
”I will be very happy if government and other relevant organisations can address the spate of drug abuse in Plateau.
”Petty thefts and other social vices are on the rise in most communities; young people have abandoned schools and other meaningful ventures, opting to indulge in consumption of illicit substances.
”As we speak, I’m handling a case where a young man impreganted his younger sister because he is always high on ogogoro.
“Children beat up their parents at the slightest provocation and physically abuse other people becaue they are under the influence of goskolo.
”As a community, we are calling on government to take drastic steps toward addressing this menace; that is the only way to guarantee a peaceful, virile and progressive society.”
Pastor Chukwuma Ukpabi of the Lord’s Chosen Church Abattoir, Jos, has equally decried the spate of sexual abuse among youths due to drugs.
Ukpapi called on goverment to ban the production and consumption of goskolo in the state.
He decried the health implication of consuming unprocessed drinks, urging goverment to impose stiff sanctions on violators.
He, however, called on goverment to provide job opportunities and create an enabling environment for young people to put their potential and talents to good use.
”That way, most of these young people roaming the streets and resorting to alcoholism and drug abuse will not be available for the devil to use.
”They will be busy with meaningful ventures and won’t have the time to consume goskolo and other illicit substances,” he said.
On her part, Mrs Lana Habu, a business woman in Jos, called on parents to be good examples to their children.
She also advised parents to provide early and quality education to their wards, insisting that such move would enable the young people have solid foundation and sound moral upbringing.
”Parents should endeavour to send their children to school no matter the situation; in school they will learn and understand what constitutes a good habit and what is bad.
”As parents, we must be shining examples to our children too. Let them see us as role models and moulders at all times,” she advised.
Meanwhile, Dr Victor Shehu of the Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos, has described as ”alarming”, the excessive intake of dry gin and other illicit substances by youths in the state.
“That situation is responsible for the rise in cases of liver and heart-related problems among young people in the state.
“The intake of the unprocessed gin and other alcoholic contents has direct link to cardiovascular diseases and increased risks of heart attacks.
”Excessive consumption of goskolo and other illicit substances can have harmful effects on the liver, kidney and heart.
“Frequent consumption of dry gin, expecially in excess, can have long-term effects on the brain and body.
”Generally, alcohol misuse increases the risk of health problems, alcohol poisoning and brain damage” he said.
NAN recalls that the state executive had, in 2016, sent an executive bill to the state House of Assembly seeking to ban the production, sale and consumption of goskolo in the state.
The bill, however, could not pass through the process required to become a law. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ephraims Sheyin