The Ojirrua of Irrua and Okaijesan of Esanland, HRH, Alhaji William Momodu II, JP, CON has described the maiden Okaijesan Enlightenment Lecture as timely and germane in the light of the prevailing situation in the country and Esanland in particular.
The lecture, which took place recently at the Okaijesan Palace Hall, in Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo state, was organised by Action for Rural Urban Enlightenment Campaign (ARUEC) in partnership with the Okaijesan Palace.
Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Ojirrua of Irrua said he was impressed with the choice of topics and qualities of guest speakers, stressing that the lectures will further enlighten the people on preventive measures against the dreaded Lassa Fever disease and help check the rising rate of drug abuse among children in the area.
While commending the organisers for the concept and scope of the lecture, the highly revered traditional ruler urged them to sustain it, noting that “It will help in educating our people on issues relating to health, security, agriculture, business, participation in governance. It will also reduce level of ignorance and create awareness for a better society.”
In his presentation titled: “Preventing Deaths from Lassa Fever in Esan Land: What do we do?” Chief Medical Director, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, (ISTH), Professor Sylvanus Okogbenin observed that Lassa Fever is gradually becoming a silent epidemic which is ravaging the people in that part of the country, regretting that forty per cent of the Lassa Fever related deaths recorded in the state during the first quarter of the year were from Esanland.
Prof. Okogbenin who was represented by the Deputy Director, Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control, ISTH, Dr. Joseph Okoeguale, advised the people to beware of rats which is the carrier of the virus that causes Lassa Fever. “The rat that has numerous breasts is the major carrier of the virus that causes Lassa Fever. You should be careful in eating rats. The easiest ways of preventing the disease are through proper sanitation and food hygiene. I will also advise that when malaria is repeatedly treated without cure, you should go to the hospital for test to ascertain the real problem as it may be Lassa Fever.”
On her part, the Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Irrua Command, Anastasia Abalaka, who spoke on the topic: “How to Identify Red Flags of Substance Use Disorder in Children”, advised parents to monitor their children closely and who they associate with, urging them not be ashamed to seek help when red flags of substance use is evident in a child.
The NDLEA Chief of Narcotics, disclosed that several substances including pawpaw leaves, soak away emissions and many others are now being used by some drug addicts, pointing out that all hands must be on the deck in sensitizing the public on the negative effects of the use of hard drugs as the NDLEA cannot do it alone.
The Chairman of the event, Professor Frederick Igene, of the Faculty of Agriculture, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and one time Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, hailed ARUEC for organizing the lecture. He advised them to invite lecturers, market women, Trade Unions as well as other interest groups in future editions.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Convener/Coordinator of ARUEC, Chief (Dr.) Chris Igene, said the lecture which is first of its kind in that part of the country is aimed at creating awareness and enlightenment to improve the quality of lives of the people of Esanland.
Chief Igene, who is also the Enakhe of Irrua Kingdom explained that the primary aim of ARUEC, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), is to ensure rural-urban development and empowerment in Esanland in particular and Nigeria in general, adding that they intend to achieve the goals through education and social enlightenment campaigns.
He specifically thanked the Okaijesan Palace for partnering with ARUEC and President, KB Crest Group, Engr. Kenneth Aigbogun Airiemiokhale for supporting the successful hosting of the Lecture.