By Ralph Madugu
To underscore the importance of physical fitness and regular exercise among media professionals, the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Plateau State Council, in collaboration with the Special Task Force, code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), recently organized a peace walk and an awareness campaign against drug abuse and other social vices.
The exercise, which was aimed at drawing public attention to the negative effects of drug and substance abuse, was also geared towards inculcating the habit of regularly physical exercise among media practitioners in the state.
With the theme, “Peace walk/awareness campaign against drug abuse and other social vices,” the media practitioners along with officers and men of the Special Task Force, trekked from the NUJ Press Centre through the Terminus area down to Gada-Biyu preaching against drug abuse, other social ills and the need for citizens of the state to live in peace by shunning all acts capable of causing disharmony.
The event, which featured dances, music, skating and peace talks, brought together journalists cutting across print, electronic and online platforms who came out in large numbers.
They disseminated messages in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and various local languages saying “Say No to violence, kidnapping, cattle rustling, drug abuse, mindless killings, rape and criminality. Say Yes to peace, tolerance, togetherness, harmony and regular exercise.”
Addressing journalists before the kick-off, Comrade Polycarp Auta, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, said that they decided to organize the event to correct what he described as “the wrong impression out there that Plateau is boiling and not peaceful.”
Said he: “We believe also that the spate of drug abuse among residents particularly young people is a push-factor for violence and conflict that is threatening the peace in our state, hence we use this event to call on our youth to shun these vices.”
Ladi Emmanuel, the National Internal Auditor of the NUJ who took part in the peace walk said, “Peace is the ultimate in every human endeavor. With peace, the society would continue to be a better place to live. We need peace. Everyone needs peace. We should put aside our differences and move the state to greater heights.”
Kenneth Dakop, the Team Leader, Strategic Communication of the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) applauded the organizers, stating that the PPBA had discovered that drug abuse had over time negatively affected the peace building efforts in the state, hence the need to call the youth to shun drug abuse which he said would be the better for the society.
“Peace is an essential ingredient in the socio-economic and political development of our society.”
Speaking to journalists during the exercise Vice Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Pam Musa, commended the leadership of the Correspondents’ chapel and the Special Task Force for the collaboration that culminated in the peace walk.