The National Council of Churches of Kenya-NCCK, Lamu branch has raised concern over the increased number of youth consuming hard drugs in the county saying they can easily fall prey to Alshabaab recruiters.
Lamu NCCK chair Charles Herya said the trend is a dangerous one as it will could easily lead the youth to join terrorist groups like Alshabaab.
Speaking in his Lamu office on Friday,Herya said majority of those using the drugs are semi-illiterates who don’t have reliable jobs and that being hooked on drugs they cant afford can easily make them target recruits for militia groups who normally promise a good life.
He said those hooked to the drugs have a compromised sense of reasoning and that,that makes its easy for them to be convinced into radicalization and eventually joining terrorist groups.
Herya says there’s need for concerted efforts from religious and community leaders and the security office in order to end the vice before it reaches regrettable levels.
He said the number of those hooked on drugs is growing fast by each day and warned that such a trend is dangerous for any given region.
“The number of young people who are drugs is very alarming and anybody should be concerned.Its not good for the security and economy of any given region.These young people become easily compromised and majority have fallen into the hands of Alshabaab recruiters in that state.We must do something before we regret.Its not too late,”said Herya.
Herya accused the county and national governments for turning a blind eye to the fact that many people in Lamu are poor and as such cannot educate their children beyond class eight.
He said both the county and national governments need to get serious and set aside a kitty to help children from marginalized regions like Lamu pursue higher levels of education so as to save them from falling prey to drug use in the first place.
He said many children who complete class eight normally don’t have the funds to pursue high school education and become idlers hence easily falling prey to drug use and radicalization.
“If they cant go to school then they will definitely find something else to do and in most cases,the something isn’t normally healthy.They use drugs,they join terror groups.Drug use is an expensive habit and they need the money to sustain it.The county and national governments can do something to reduce this number by ensuring people are sponsored to pursue their education to the highest levels,that way they will be too smart to make regrettable mistakes like using drugs or even joining terrorism,”said Herya.
Herya also called on religious leaders in the county to genuinely preach against terrorism and drug use in order to save the youth whom he said are the biggest victims to all the bad in the society.
He challnegd the county government to fulfill its pledge to setting up a rehabilitation centre in the county in order to help addicts who are willing to reform and better their lives.
He called on the county administration to step up its grasp on drug dealers in the county in order to bring the trend to a stop.
“Religious leaders both Muslim and Christians should strive to equally preach against terrorism and drug use after all those affected are from both religions.We must tell that there is always a better option than using drugs or becoming a terrorist.That,there is no honor in all that.The county government on its part should also get serious with setting up a rehab as they have always promised after all the land has already been acquired.The security office shouldn’t relent on cracking down on drug dealers,its tough but it’s the only option to save these young people,”said Herya.