Residents of Longonot town in Naivasha have expressed their concern over the high number of students dropping out of school to join the lucrative sand harvesting business.
This has been worsened by a rise in cases of substance abuse among students with peddlers using the transit town to sell their illegal ware.
This comes as the residents launched a campaign against drug abuse and consumption of illicit brews in the town located along the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road.
The move comes a couple of days after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua released a list of those involved in selling and producing illicit brews and drugs in the lakeside town.
According to Stephen Karanja, the community stakeholders secretary, the number of students working as sand loaders and harvesters was on the rise.
He said that many parents instead of supporting their children to join vocational colleges were opting to buy them spades to join the sand business.
“We are deeply concerned by the high number of students working as sand harvesters and loaders in this town,” he said.
Speaking during a peaceful demonstration in the town, he attributed the drug menace to motorists using the Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road for selling drugs to the students.
“Last week, police arrested five students who were found in possession of bhang and this problem is getting serious by the day,” he said.
This was echoed by Pastor Peter Kariuki who said that they had launched a sensitization program on the effects of substance abuse.
He noted that even students in primary school had been affected by the menace, adding that they were ready to kick out the peddlers from the area.
“We don’t want any blame game and we have joined hands in dealing with this menace that is a threat to our children,” he said.
A parent, Ruth Wambui, said that they had hired counselors to work with the students in schools as one of the ways of dealing with the problem.
“We are grateful for the support given by police and we are asking members of the public to give us the names of the drug peddlers,” he said.
Peter Kamau, a trader in the area, also said that tens of students in the town were under threat from illicit brews and drugs that were easily accessible in the town.
“Parents have invested heavily in their children’s education and we shall not allow a group of few individuals to mess up their lives,” he warned.