As a former drugs addict, Bishop Kayode Abiola has identified peer pressure as a major cause of hard drugs addiction among Nigerian youths. Bishop Abiola, now President of Rehab & Vocational CT for converted drugs addicts; an arm of Finger of God Church, Alagbado, Lagos, shared with Christian Benefits how his hook on hard drugs turned him to a destitute and nearly ruined his life completely until Jesus came to his rescue and turned his shattered life around to become a preacher of the Gospel and a reformer of hard drug addicts.
Kayode Abiola, known back then as the young Peller; son of a famous Nigerian magician, the late Moshood Abiola a.k.a Prof. Peller, recaps his sojourn in the world of magic and hard drugs addiction until Christ delivered him. “By the grace of God I have been walking with Jesus since 1989 after I had been in magical practice for over two decades through the influence of my now late father, Prof. Peller, who was then a famous Nigerian magician. At the tail end of the practice, I got hooked on hard drugs. I became a hard drugs addict. I was a multiple user. All hope was lost on me because I was already sleeping under bridges until Jesus saved me.”
Asked why most people, particularly the youths, get hook on hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and lately tramadol among other dangerous substances, Bishop Abiola, the ex-hard drugs addict and former magician replies: “Generally, it is peer pressure. Every young man or woman wants to belong. As a young man or woman if you don’t smoke or involve in some youthful exuberance with your friends, your friends make you feel inferior. So, because you want to belong, you join them. Same peer pressure goes with cultism in school. The crime rate among Nigerian youths today is increasing. And for most of them to get the boldness to do those vices they have to do hard drugs. It’s becoming to alarming,” Abiola feared.
Obviously the menace of hard drugs addiction particularly among Nigerian youths informed his passion for the rehabilitation of hard drugs addicts for over 20 years now. The ex-drugs addict now general overseer of Finger of God Church explains: “My background informed my passion for rehabilitation of drugs addicts in our society, particularly among the Nigerian youths. The Bible says there is a prophet among them who will be like them. It takes somebody who has been there (hard drugs addiction) to help others who are passing through the same and dangerous problem of hard drugs addiction,” the amiable Bishop pointed.
With this passion, Bishop Kayode Abiola founded Life Rehab & Vocational CT for converted drugs addicts, and started picking drugs addicts in the streets, under bridges and hideouts or joints of hard drugs addicts into his rehab home located at Alagbado area of Lagos. “We started (the rehab centre) from a house. We were picking them (hard drugs addicts) from the streets, under bridges, hideouts or joints of hard drugs to our drugs addicts rehab centre. In 1993, the centre faced severe challenges of resources, mostly funds and other essential materials for the treatment of the rehabilitees, particularly the violent inmates among them.
“When we started we had the problem of money because I didn’t want to introduce fees for their treatment. We also faced security challenges. Some of the rehabilitees were hardened cult members in their different schools. We had not also introduced medical treatment. Then, along the line I was offered a scholarship to study T&R (Treatment & Rehabilitation) at the University of Benin. During the course, I realized it is not only the spiritual we need, we also need the medical in the treatment of the rehabilitees. Now, we have medical consultants that attended to them medically and also some people that help them spiritually. We have also introduced vocational & computer training to help them economically before we reintegrate them into the society after they complete their treatment at our rehabilitation centre.”
“Since 1993, we have rehabilitated over a thousand hard drugs addicts. Presently, we have over 50 inmates in our rehab. 80% of them pay fees while I also support with the little income I get from the ministry. Some parents are having issues like this with their children, but they are shame to bring them to the centre. They can call me (08033077006) or visit the internet to see how we can assist them. It is better they call me personally so we can talk. Of course, some drugs addicts suffer rejection. We don’t reject them. Jesus is walking in them.
“We also do social reintegration and family recognition for the converted addicts. Some of them go back to their vomit after a while. So we keep monitoring them. We encourage those with chronic cases to stay long in the rehab. Some of them relocate because of peer pressure. Some of them relocate to our church mission where they learn trade or work under our close watch because it is easier for people like us to discover or discern an ex addict who has gone back to drugs. We call it hard- way –home. Professionals are able to notice from your face if you sneak in drugs. Some of them go back to drugs because of peer pressure. It only takes a former hard drugs addict who is spiritually strong not to go back to hard drugs addiction.”
Although Life Rehab for Converted Drugs Addicts is a Christian-faith based rehab, Bishop Kayode Abiola emphatically says the centre does not discriminate against religious faith: “Of course they bring them (the drugs addicts) he tell then point blanks that Jesus is the only one who heals permanently. The Bible says he sent forth his words and his words healed them. But when you leave you can go back to your religion. I don’t think it is possible after such a long period to go back from Jesus because Jesus is the light that will guide through the rest of their life. We don’t discriminate but we preach Jesus to them as their healer,” he summed.