africa

Anambra communities wage war against drugs


Drug abuse is becoming a serious threat to the country as youths, especially those in the Eastern part, are gradually getting addicted to drugs, of which recently, methamphetamine (meth) seems to be the most popular among them.

Going by the intake of drugs in Anambra State in particular, there has been a noticeable increase in crime and cult-related activities in the state.

Disturbed by the dangerous activities resulting from drugs abuse, many communities in the state have come up with strategies against drug sales and consumption.

Youths of various communities in the state have also taken it upon themselves to deal “ruthlessly” with those who indulge in the sales and consumption of drugs.

Methamphetamine or crystalmeth or meth (mkpurumiri in Igbo) has rendered many youths hopeless across the communities in the state and beyond.

According to experts, the effects of meth include high temperature, insomnia, violent acts, ageing and even death.

Others are tattered dressing, frequent picking at hair or skin, loss of appetite, roving eyes, garrulity, borrowing money often, selling possessions, stealing and delirium.

With the development, Umudioka community in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State recently declared war on drugs such as cocaine, heroin, Indian hemp and meth.

The community said the drugs, particularly meth, was destroying youths in the state and the South East at large.

In a statement, the President General of Umudioka Improvement Union (UIU), Chike Odoji, said sales and consumption of the illicit drugs had been proscribed in their community.

Mr Odoji said the community would be working with the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other relevant law enforcement agencies to arrest defaulters, including dealers and consumers.

He, therefore, advised the youths to stay away from illicit drugs, stressing that they would not spare anyone that violated the directive.

According to experts, meth is one of the hardest drugs as it is highly addictive and affects the central nervous system and creates a feeling of massive happiness.

They said the intake of the drug had caused more harm and brought nothing good to “our youths and the entire society”, noting that it had increased social ills.

With the trend, the rate of kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, money ritual, rape, madness and other ugly stories have gone higher.

Like Umudioka, many communities in Anambra State have adopted the use of force and torture as a means of correction. Flogging defaulters in public is the most popular. 

Supporting corporal punishment for offenders, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, an Awka resident, said, “No matter how nicely you treat drug abusers here, more will still take it. But once communities begin clamping down on them and the suppliers, they will go into hiding.

“In a society that has lost all sense of decency; where some people behave like animals, being nice will merely be a waste of time.”

He further suggested sourcing money to take them to rehabilitation centres or doing anything else to help them desist from the acts as alternatives to torture, and enjoined the communities in the state to expose drug dealers.

According to him, the fight to reclaim the space mostly involved parents, relations, neighbours and religious leaders who would be bold to speak the truth and monitor the activities youths.

He further said, “Traditional rulers, chiefs and other leaders in our various communities must wake up to fight this monster frontally.”

An elder in the state, Nze Alex Nwaoha, who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday, described drug abuse as “another time bomb to the multiple time bombs and kegs of gun powder we are sitting on.

“So if stakeholders do not sit up urgently, there will be serious problem in the state. This is not a joke and must be addressed without delay.”

Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday on the development, Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, said government would support every legal means to stop illegal consumption of drugs in the state.

He, therefore, urged the communities to liaise with the necessary agencies and stakeholders in their process of fighting drug abuse.

The spokesperson of the police in the state, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, described illicit drugs as the oxygen that fueled most crimes and bad behaviour.

He said the command had since put up a programme by to campaign against cultism and other vices; noting that the programme was targeted at sensitising youths on the dangers of drugs and other vices.





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