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Governor Nassir orders bar closure near schools, holy places

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir has ordered for the relocation of all the bars that are operating at a distance of 150 meters to schools and places of worship to curb an increased abuse of drugs by students.

Speaking during a ceremony to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Nassir said the drug dens selling alcohol and “Mugoka or Khat”, among other drugs, lure the children into engaging in drug abuse among other vices, while at the same time, the bars and pubs distract worship.

“I will sit down with the county assembly and set up measures to ensure that all these drug dens operating near schools are relocated or their licenses revoked. If we really care about the morals in our society and the future of our children, then this has to be done,” he said.

The county chief said his office will work closely with other relevant institutions to stop the selling of drugs to students and ensure clubs are not interfering with worshippers activities.

He added that plans are underway to have the department of health map out the affected drug users in the county into a medical cover scheme sponsored by the county government to aid in their medical expenses.

His sentiments were echoed by Jomvu Member of Parliament Badi Twalib, who said that cases of school-children involved in extensive drug abuse due to the fact that they can easily access them.

Badi noted that in his constituency, where there is a rehabilitation centre, a total of 550 students are treated, with 70 in the full programme and the rest in the methadone programme.

The MP proposed an increase in the number of rehabilitation centres to help treat those affected by drug abuse, adding that it has turned out to be a major health risk.

Nassir said he will construct two rehabilitation centres for men and women in the county as one way to curb the menace.

“All the revenue collected from the bars will be used in rehabilitation services for those affected by drugs,” said the governor.

The governor also asked politicians to stop politicising the issue of drug abuse in the area and work together for the health of the people of Mombasa.

He said that for a long time, politicians have exploited drug addicts to propagate their political agendas, but it’s high time that they put their differences aside and deal with drug traffickers.

Mombasa County Assembly Speaker Khatib Khatr also declared mugoka chewing in the region a crisis and requested the county government’s support as they enacted laws to put the town in order.

Khatr asked the national government to intervene and fight the drug dealing business happening in the country, as it is the only lasting solution.

“The government is strong, and it can bring order if it decides to arrest and discipline all the illicit drug trafficking linkages in the country,” he said.

In a bid to help recovering drug addicts regain hope in life, the Mombasa County government has said that they have employed at least 2310 recovering drug addicts under the “Mombasa yangu” programme.

The county, having registered success in the programme said they will allocate more funds in the next budget to employ more of the recovering drug addicts so that they get busy and help them not to relapse.

Nassir said there is also a motivation programme for students while on holiday so that they don’t hang out in the streets recklessly when not in school.

“The children will be taken to libraries and visit the elderly, among other community engagement activities. We will also cater for their lunch and make a contribution of 250 for each student under the programme on a daily basis, and the money will be channeled to bursaries to support their education,” he said.

By Chari Suche

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