The nature and trend in drug use (alcohol and tobacco) by young Cameroonians has been described as scary, with high crime wave as one of the fallouts. Members of Parliament on Friday June 22 sought to know from the Ministers of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Secondary Education,
Social Affairs and Public Health what their ministries were doing to curb the rising phenomenon. It is a national problem that can be handled if parents, the civil society and religious bodies join government in efforts to counter it, Youth Affairs and Civic Education boss, Pierre IsmaÃ«l Bidoung Mpkwatt pointed out. The putting in place of education and sensitisation platforms for civic education and the socio-economic integration of youths through the Programme for the Assistance of Youths in Rural Urban Areas (PAJER-U) and the Socio-economic Integration of Youths through the Manufacture of Sports Equipment (PIFMAS) are intended to keep youths busy, he explained.
In spite of the fact that since 2007, the Ministry of Social Affairs has embarked on a programme to get children off the streets, Hon. Tomaino Ndam Njoya told Minister Catherine Bakang Mbock that child theft (trafficking) in hospitals and juvenile delinquency was getting out of hand. The creation of rehabilitation centres like the Bostal Institute, Buea and that of Bepanda, Douala are part of government efforts to check the occurrence. Catherine Bakang Mbock also explained that the programme since the beginning of this year has counselled and returned 106 juvenile delinquents to their families. The need to harmonise associations that champion the same cause, she said, was unavoidable. She cautioned that most of those associations are out for 'charity businesses.' While condemning the ill, Catherine Bakang Mbock echoed the need for parents to help in sensitising their children.
André Mama Fouda said government strongly condemns child theft and called for vigilance on the part of parents as he sympathised with victims. The country's judicial system has the final say in such cases just like that of Vanessa Tchatchou, where he added, two suspects are in custody. André Mama Fouda announced that security has been reinforced in hospitals while calling on all and sundry to respect security rules in hospitals by putting on identification batches when asked to do so. On drug consumption among youth, André Mama Fouda announced that his ministry has seized some 328 kilogrammes of hard drugs since the beginning of the year as part of government efforts to stamp out the trend.
Speaking on the alarming trend, the Minister of Secondary Education, Louis Bapès Bapès said the ministry is educating and sensitising youths while disciplinary measures have been put in place to deter students from alcohol and drug consumption.
The plenary sitting was chaired by House Speaker, Cavaye Yequie Njibril and present was the Vice Prime Minister at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Amadou Ali.