By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The founder of Malam Niggas Rehabilitation Centre, Kaduna, a Non – Governmental Organization, Sheikh Lawal Maduru, has warned the society against discriminating and stigmatizing people who suffered mental problems that have been treated, cured and rehabilitated.
Making the observation while speaking to newsmen in Kaduna to mark World Mental Health Day, he said the aim was to raise more awareness of the dangers of drugs abuses and how it affects lives of youth in Nigeria and Africa.
He said stigmatizing and discriminating against rehabilitated mentally challenged persons would lead to a relapse, adding that subsequently, such victims would go back to their old ways that will be detrimental to the society.
Sheikh Maduru said that the victims of mental disease needs love and care and not stigmatization, adding that it is the responsibility of state and federal governments, NGOs, CSO and humanitarian organisations to support in rebuilding better life for the rehabilitated patients that were sent back to their communities.
According to Maduru, his NGO has in recent times treated six mental cases two of them are females. “They are fully okay and ready to be rehabilitated into the society,” he added.
“I reformed over 1,000 mentally challenged persons and drug addicts across the northern parts of the country, stressing that they are now helping in educating young ones at schools on dangers of taking drugs as a way of reducing large number of youth into drugs addict,“ he advised.
He called on government to evacuate all the mentally challenged persons on the streets and those sleeping in trash dumped centers and uncompleted buildings to be taking to psychiatric hospital or any traditional rehabilitation centre for treatment.
He called on the government to create enabling environment for job creation so that the youths could be gainfully employed thereby reducing the high cases of drug abuse in the society.
Also responding, Pastor Yohana Buru, national president, Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, stressed the need to halt stigmatizing mentally challenged persons that were rehabilitated and cured from hospital or any other centre.
Buru said, “There is need to educate Nigerians on the dangers of stigmatizing rehabilitated patients. Communities must joined hands in making life better for the reformed persons.
He appealed to the ministry of health to help centres that are transforming lives of mentally challenged persons across the 36 states of Nigeria.
“There is need for both federal and state governments to evacuate all the mentally challenged persons on the streets and markets and those residing in uncompleted buildings to be taken back to psychiatric and other traditional health centres for treatment,” he advised.