Shittu, who is the country’s youngest female lawmaker, noted that her proposal of media regulations became necessary since the abuse of drugs and other substances has driven a considerable rise in the number of youths imprisoned in recent years.
A twenty-six-year-old lawmaker, Rukayat Motunrayo Shittu, has voiced her concern about the increased use and glamourised promotion of drugs and other substances by celebrities in the country.
Hon. Shittu made this known on her X handle recently, where she noted that she has dispatched a request letter to the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), National Assembly and other stakeholders, proposing specific media regulations over the proliferation of drug-related content, especially on social media.
According to the young lawmaker who represents Owode/Onire Constituency at the Kwara State House of Assembly, the proposed media regulations would apply to the proliferation and promotion of drug-related content, largely by people in the show business on social media, music videos, movies, skit, reality shows and others. She thus explained that such regulations became necessary because abuse of drugs and other substances has driven a considerable rise in the number of Youths imprisoned in recent years.
“Recently, I dispatched a request letter to the National Broadcasting Corporation, National Assembly (Senate and Federal House of Representatives), and other stakeholders, proposing specific media regulations over the proliferation of drug-related content being exposed and promoted, largely by people in the showbusiness on social media, music videos, movies, skit, reality shows and others,” she said.
The need for such regulations became necessary because abuse of drugs and other substances has driven a considerable rise in the number of Youths imprisoned in recent years, and according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime in Nigeria, at least 14.4% (14.3million) people abuse drugs in Nigeria and social media, music videos, movies, skits, and reality shows have become some of the platforms through which young people are exposed to drugs in a glamourised manner, including in Kwara State.
According to NDLEA research, within the past 1 year, the drug abuse prevalence rate in Kwara State is 14 percent, which is the highest in North Central of Nigeria, and this calls for urgent attention.”
Shittu, who chairs the Committee on Youth, Sports, and Information in the Kware Assembly, stressed that the glamorisation of drugs on social media by popular people and celebrities seen by most young people as role models is a major contributing factor to the rise in drug abuse and by extension, rise in youth crime.
Noting that the scourge cannot be adequately handled through state regulations, she stated that the proposal is also being processed at the Kwara Assembly, and she looks forward to working with all interested individuals, groups, and organisations to end drug abuse in Nigeria,
“Being one of the youngest lawmakers in the country and Chairman of the Committee on Youths, Sports, and Tourism in the Kwara State House of Assembly, I understand that scourge cannot be adequately handled through state regulations. The NBC has the primary responsibility to champion this initiative, hence the proposal to them and other stakeholders at the national level.
It is my firm conviction that wide consultation with all appropriate stakeholders will eventually lead to a consensus to protect young Nigerians from the scourge of drug abuse.
Let me conclude by adding that the proposal to regulate and criminalise drug abuse-related content on media and, by extension, social media is not to prevent celebrities from living their lifestyles. It is to reduce, if not to eliminate, exposure of drug abuse-related content on the media to prevent young minds from adopting a lifestyle they are not equipped to handle, which has led many to crimes, hospitals, and prisons,“ she added.