Founder Of Sanctuary Of Hope Foundation Discusses Challenges And Solutions In The Fight Against Drugs Abuse 

Sir, can you tell us your name and what you do?

My name is Chukwuemeka Michael, from Imo state. I run a Youth lead organization in Nigeria, which is Sanctuary of Hope foundation, birthed in 2017. It’s a youth lead organization with the mandate of combating social vices especially drug abuse and also we go around with welfare programs for the less privileged, I’m also the national president for the African union (APRM), which is a mechanism in Nigeria.

The APRM is the organ of the African union that promotes good governance amongst the member states of the African Union. But professionally am a civil engineer, I stopped practicing since 2020 and am more in the humanitarian services and also youth advocacy space.

So what have been your greatest challenge running a non-governmental organization in a country like Nigeria?

Basically, most challenges I face currently as I speak is gathering funds for specific projects, but we have been able to go around ourselves with our grants method also some compound generated fund raising from well wishers and network of people who love what we do. Another challenge is government bureaucracy in carrying out those projects, for example you have to carry out the project in school or institutions, you need to go through a lot of protocols before you can achieve that and these things most times kills the zeal to carry on, because having a target and not being able to meet up with the time planned and this challenges don’t give any credible impact to achieving them.

What really motivated you into running this non-governmental organization?

Well, I was once a victim of drug abuse when I was in the University, I started my drug abuse specifically in 2013-,2014, I was addicted and I did a lot of hard drugs and coming out of it was busy God’s grace. And one thing i found out about drug is that we the youth are always the victim and when you have these kind of people doing drugs then it’s easy to sensitize and know why someone is doing drugs before you think of how to help the person.

I had a lot of people trying to talk me out of it then but I didn’t listen to them because I was like you have already lived your youthful live why are you trying to tell me to stop. But when a fellow youth tries to talk to me and give me more reason on why I should stop. So after coming out from that, it gave me a positive reaction for youths to sensitize and understand why a fellow youth is doing that because you have to be able to understand before helping the person and it’s a process not something that happens in one day.

That was the ignition that I started with since 2017 and so far it’s been going well.

I understand that running an organization as big as yours can be very demanding, so how do you source for funds to carry out your project?

From the beginning, funding honestly came from friends, network organization and diaspora and Nigeria family at first, from there we started seeking for partnership with some companies and firms that were related to our mandate and a private hospital in Imo state that take care of these kind of people too.

And we are heading to accept grants from International partners and lately we have been getting a lot of positive response as well.

A lot of people say that the fight against drug abuse is a collective fight, do you think the government has a role to play in fighting drug abuse?

Yes, the government has a big role. The role of the government in this is to secure it’s border, impetrate the dealers and find the suppliers because these drugs don’t just appeared from nowhere, even the common cannabis is being planted by people. And you know we are NGOs or CSOs don’t have the weapon to go and say we are combating the dealer the of illicit drugs. That’s the aspect the government should checkmate. What we have to do is to make sure to mitigate the victims, we cover them and make sure we have more awareness especially for youth from the younger ones not to put themselves into such manners.

So far where do you see yourself in the next five years?

So I see myself in the next five years going from one African country to another for sensitization and awareness campaign. I’m already in the African space even with the drug abuse, but I see myself in the next five years approaching this social vices in a political level.

I will tell you that a lot of people we are seeing in our political spaces are into drugs, the elites are into drugs. So who are the boys supplying that even when they catch one or two they still have soft landing of release. The cabals are into this business because it’s very big, it’s like the oil industry. The illicit drugs business is the second most lucrative business in the world. So i see myself getting to that political space to mitigate it from governance level by God’s grace.

A lot of people look up to you on social media, a lot of people volunteer for your NGO, people volunteer for your NGO, people working for you, because they want to be identified with you. What is your advice to those people?

Sometimes when I see people looking up to me or trying to get closer to me to see what pushes me, I don’t try to think why they’re attracted or what gave them attraction to me. For me if I’m going give advice them, I tell people to try to be real with themselves. Be real with yourself, be genuine, be real with your intentions in that space things happen organically you do not try to fight things or try to please third parties it goes with nature.

As one who has contributed so much for the unity of Africa and the development of youth, do you think it is right for an African to be an immigrant in another African country?

Yes, I think it should be because for example in Nigeria I’m from Imo State but I’m in Abuja. Technically I’m an immigrant in another state while I’m from Imo State. Africa is our home, Nigeria is my village, so I can move from another place let’s say Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa based on my work space as long as we call it home it can accommodate all of us, just be where it works for you, if this room works for you or that room is where I want to stay because this kind of environment or people around me it works and it’s good for me.

A lot of people say Africa is more accommodating to the western world than fellow Africans and I want to know your views in that regard?

You know we always look at western world where we still colonize our ideology that western world has more updated ways of things than African. So we feel like when Africans coming to your home, is coming to eat from you, is taking advantage of you, meanwhile someone coming from the western world add value to your own resources, so that colonialism ideology is eating African, meanwhile we have a lot of Africans going to other African countries as an added value.


Africans do not see Africans as added value they see them as exploit, your country isn’t good your coming to my country. I think that’s what is happening and it is something we are creating awareness in Africa in Union to eradicate that mentality, because it creates a lot of frictions for movement even in Africans by Africans.

Alright Mr Michael, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you for the opportunity.

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