Sunday Magazine

South-East: Battling against Crystal Meth, cultism

Many communities in Southeastern Nigeria are currently thinking of ways out of the twin menace of cultism and MkpuruMmiri, a highly addictive and crystal narcotic hallucinogen, medically known as Methamphetamine or by its street name, Crystal Meth. The communities and their leaders are racing against the time to salvage the lives of their youths being destroyed by these scourges. They have called for drastic actions from other communities, parents, youths, traditional leaders, religious leaders, school administrators, professionals and government to follow suit. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports


• ‘In next 10yrs, we’ll have Zombie society if nothing is done’

• 11-year-old person taking meth in my constituency –Rep

• Flogging abusers not solution, says Barr Okeke


Many youths in South Eastern part of Nigeria are currently being ravaged by the influence of MkpuruMmiri abuse and cultism.


The evils of cultism and substance abuse cannot be over emphasised, going by the devastation they have wreaked in the region. If youths, the supposed leaders of tomorrow waste their lives to these menaces, the region would have raised an array of disjointed individuals in the next 10 years, if nothing is done to stem the tide.


No wonder community leaders in the region, especially late Prof. Chinua Achebe’s Community, Ogidi, the Headquarters of Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State has begun a number of interventions, including mapping out of high risks schools to be addressed with a sole aim of nipping the twin menaces in the bud. Thus, since the discovery of MkpuruMmiri and its abuse in the South East, a number of lives in the region have been wasted, forcing almost all the community leaders to scurry and seek ways to deal with this addiction that alters the central nervous system of whoever takes it and creates a feeling of massive happiness that makes the taker want to fly, yet highly destructive.


In the course of this, Ogidi community has taken the first bold step towards tackling indulgences among the youths in the South East by leading a campaign against the menace in the South Eastern schools even as other communities are coming up.


This was revealed prior and during the just concluded 2021 End of The Year Party organised by Lagos chapter of Ogidi Union Nigeria at its FESTAC’s Civic Centre, Lagos, where a huge number of youths were in attendance.


The youth arm of the Union harped on the need to educate their fellow youths in the South East in order to end the scorching scourge of cultism and substance abuse which are currently rendering their fellow youths useless. They advised one another against cultism and drug abuse, saying that MkpuruMmiri addiction and cultism could be destructive to their lives and destiny.


They warned that any man who is constantly under the influence of additives hardly achieves his life pursuit. According to the Secretary General of Ogidi Youth United, Lagos chapter, Barr. Lucy Okoyeagu, the youth have mapped out schools in the South East to be visited with its programme to ensure that the communities in the South East do no longer lose their youths to cultism and Mkpurumiri.


Tagged ‘Catch Them Young,’ the project will be partnering with certain schools in the high risk areas to educate and train the trainers in both primary and secondary schools in the region on the dangers of cultism and substance abuse, especially the Mkpurummiri menace.


“To sustain this project and ensure that the message keeps moving from one generation to another, this pilot project will be training the first set of youths in secondary school and making them anti-cultism and substance abuse ambassadors. With this arrangement, the students will form an anti-drug abuse club where they will be preaching to their peers against the duo of cultism and substance abuse,” Okoyeagu said.


According to her, the essence of training and educating these educators is to ensure an effective communication among the youths as the youths tend to talk to fellow youths better, and they listen better to one another than any others. “Peers have greater influence on themselves than any other person.


They can open up to themselves and discuss the topics that they will not discuss with another person. We want to use them as a solution to their problem,” she said. In the well-attended event, which drew men and women from all walks of life, a lecturer and the life patron of the youth, Dr. (Mrs.) Chinwe Obikwelu, said the dangers and evils of cultism and drug abuse cannot be over emphasised.


She wondered what the future of the young people would look like if the youths who were the supposed leaders of tomorrow waste away their lives in cultism and drug abuse.

“This, therefore, calls for urgent and drastic actions from all stakeholders – parents, youths, traditional leaders, religious leaders, school administrators, professionals and government.


A stitch in time saves nine,” she said. She said cultism and drug abuse were twin brothers, which cannot be separated from each other, saying that secret cult in Nigeria



as a whole has permeated, to a very large extent, into every facet of our society and educational system: primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions. It is found in both formal and informal sectors of our society.


Dr. Obikwelu defined a secret cult as any form of mysterious organization, whose activities are not only exclusively kept away from the knowledge of others but such activities are carried out at odd hours of the day, in odd places and they clash with convention or widely accepted ways of life. She said: “Cultists are often with dangerous weapons such as firearms, daggers, axes and knives and they are mostly drug addicts.”


Describing drug abuse as the excessive and indiscriminate use of drugs without doctor’s prescription, she said there are many kinds of substances that the youths abuse, including Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Nicotine use, and Hallucinogen among others but today, Mkpurummiri seems to top the list, especially in the South East.


She continued: “Many categories of our youths (male and female) are hooked on the drug abuse problem. This includes an unbelievably large number of primary and secondary school pupils, undergraduate students, servicemen both skilled and unskilled, among others.


“Studies have it that drug abuse leads to high rate of crime, fuels conflict, political thuggery, religious intolerance, raping, domestic violence and suicide among others, and affects the psychological and physical conditions of abusers, hence the need to deal with it.


“The activities of cultism and drug abuse have brought so much evil in our society which ranges from fear and insecurity, violence, oppression, raping, truancy, armed robbery, prostitution, school high dropout  rate, kidnapping to mention but a few. “Researchers believe that causes and factors promoting cultism and substance abuse include: peer group influence, parental background, societal decadence, erosion of education standards, personal variables, lack of security and love, militarisation of the Nigerian policy amongst others.”


On curbing the menace of cultism and drug addiction, she said, “Catch them young for Jesus. Children at the tender age should be exposed to the Word of God.


The Word of God in Proverbs 22:6 says ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it but how many parents know that Jesus is the answer?” Ogidi community insists that campaigns against cultism and drug abuse should be taken very seriously, saying that seminars, workshops, symposiums, and public lectures among others should be organised, especially in the schools to enlighten the youths and children on the evils and dangers of cultism and drug abuse.


They want the traditional heads and their cabinets in the region to follow suit to what the Ogidi youths have started. They want them to map out disciplinary actions and punishment to be meted out to defaulters such as ostracism, arrest, detention and imprisonment among others while amnesty should be granted to repentant members.


Obikwelu, however, recommended that the school authorities should apply all disciplinary measures to ensure sanity such as expulsion, withdrawal and rustication of cult members from our institutions of learning to serve as deterrent to others.


She said, “An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. Youths should be empowered through skills acquisition and provision of funds to start businesses. This will help to keep them busy and resourceful. “Persuasion should follow suit. This might be an aftermath of revivals, crusades and public enlightenment campaigns.


Members may be persuaded to renounce membership after public enlightenment campaigns, revivals, crusades and follow up services should be rendered.” Corroborating Obikwelu, the Principal Partner, T.D.X Associates, Chuka Okeke, a lawyer, said substance addiction is a product of idleness, saying if the government should create jobs and people find what to do, the indulgence in substance abuse will reduce.


He said: “The review shows that these youths take these drugs in the hotness of afternoon when every person with a job will be at work or doing something.” Reacting to the beating and flogging of the abusers as a solution, he said the abusers need rehabilitation and not beating or flogging them. “Beating them is not a solution.


They need help and also, chasing them away from one community to another, has not equally solved the problem,” he quipped. Okeke was reacting to the action taken by some communities in the South East to send the abusers away from the host community to another community.


He said: “You are only quick to send them away from your community to where they are coming from because he or she is not from your community.


But what happens, if such an abuser hails from your town? Will you also send him or her away? That shows that is not a solution to the problem. “We need to sensitise them on this. They need to understand that there are certain highly placed jobs that they cannot cling on when the opportunity comes beckoning.


If such a person has taken hard drugs before, including the marijuana, it will be dictated and the applicant disqualified. “It has happened to some people I know.

Once they are subjected to such a test, it will detect it even if you tasted it only once. This will disqualify them and they should know these and shun these hard drugs intake.”


The next to Ogidi community is Umudioka, a community in Dunukofia Local Council of Anambra State, which also declared war on illicit drugs, including Crystal Meth. In a public service announcement signed by the President General of Umudioka Improvement Union, Mr. Chike Odoji, the community said the sales and consumption of these illicit drugs had been proscribed in their environment.


He disclosed that they would be working with National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Police Anti Cult Unit and other relevant law enforcement agencies to begin the arrest of defaulters, dealers and consumers within the community.


He advised the youth to stay away from anywhere illicit drugs was traded or consumed, stressing that the community won’t spare anyone that violates the directive no matter the person’s social status.


Other illicit drugs proscribed alongside Mkpuru Mmiri in the community were Isi na Awa Agu, Aju Achu Enwe, Stonch and India hemp. These are names of the drugs in their local parlance.


Also perturbed by the rising use of the substance among youths in Enugu, the Enugu State Students Community, last Thursday, joined the campaign against it and other hard drugs. The students took the campaign through major roads and streets of Enugu, the capital city.


The road walk started from Okpara Square through Enugu metropolis and ended at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) where a sensitisation programme was held.


The march, which was organised by the Special Assistant on Students Affairs to Enugu State Governor, Ilogebe Chidi, was aimed at lending a voice against the menace caused by the abuse of hard drugs amongst young persons.


They displayed banners and placards that urged youths to abstain from drug abuse, especially Mkpuru Mmiri. More so, the youths in Imo State reportedly beat a 27year-old man, Darlington Ugboaja, to death. He was allegedly found with Mkpurummiri at Anara market, Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. The incident was said to have caused pandemonium in the market, as traders hurriedly closed and scampered for safety.


A source said the youth suspected the victim had gone to buy the drug and therefore decided to search him and found the drug in his pocket. Angered by that, they pounced on him until he lost consciousness. The victim was later rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. “They saw him coming out from a bunk where drugs are sold.


They suspected he had Mkpuru Mmiri in his possession. They quickly searched him and found the substance. They immediately tied his hands on an electric pole and started beating him. “He lost consciousness and was rushed to Anara Health Centre, but unfortunately, there was no doctor on duty.


They rushed him to another hospital at Umunachi where he was pronounced dead,” a source stated. Also, an Imo State member of the House of Representatives, Henry Nwaoba, moved a motion on the floor of the House recently, urging members to treat the issue as a matter of urgent public importance.


He said the highly addictive drug had negative effects on the lives of 75 per cent of users, making them useless to themselves and the society at large, adding that side effects of the drug included mood alteration, the exhibition of violent behaviours and even death. He said: “It has a powerful euphoric effect comparable to that of Cocaine.


This drug nicknamed Mkpuru Mmiri in the South East is gradually destroying our youths. There are laws in this country to control drug abuse and trafficking. Regulatory agencies, particularly the NDLEA, should step up their control and sensitisation mechanisms.”


In this line, the Deputy House Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, also called for the arrest and prosecution of local manufacturers and marketers of Crystal Meth in Nigeria. Besides Mkpuru mmiri, Okechukwu noted that Nigeria had become plagued by the abuse of many hard drugs, a problem he said required concerted efforts to tackle holistically.


He stated: “What we should be concerned about is who are the manufacturers of this drug (Crystal meth) in Nigeria? Who are the marketers? We have to get the drug out of society completely. The NDLEA must rise up to the occasion.”


Making a similar contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas, drew a link between drug abuse and the insecurity upsurges in Nigeria, a fact he said the NDLEA itself had since acknowledged.


Namdas observed that the war against drug abuse, trafficking or manufacturing was beyond the capacity of NDLEA alone to wage, saying: “There has to be a synergy among all the security agencies “We are talking about the youths; have we forgotten that many adults also abuse these drugs? The problem is bigger than just saying the youth.


If adults or your parents abuse drugs in your presence, you may not see anything wrong with doing the same thing yourself.” Among other prayers, the House called for a Marshall plan to fight drug abuse, the raiding of the local manufacturing plants by a combined team of the NDLEA and other security agencies as well as increasing the budget of the NDLEA to enable the agency to function more efficiently.


Upholding their position, Representative Lynda Ikpeazu warned that the meth scourge could turn Nigeria to a zombie nation within 10 years if nothing is done to battle the scourge.


The lawmaker said 11 years old children in her constituency are also using the highly addictive drug. She said: “In the next 10 years, if we don’t stop it, we are going to have a zombie society. In my constituency, you will see an 11 years old person taking meth. What kind of future are we expecting these youths to have?


We are going to have doped up society, Zombie society. That is not good for us.” She harped on the need to rehabilitate victims of the drug.


However, the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) also threatened to clampdown on distributors and consumers of Mkpuru Nmiri illicit drugs as well as other criminals that are terrorising the South East geopolitical zone. The group made this known in a statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Comrade Emma Powerful on Tuesday.


The statement reads in part: “We note with utter displeasure, a very ugly and disturbing trend among some youths in Biafra land that have resorted to the consumption of a destructive hard drug methamphetamine. This development is very strange and completely unacceptable.


“It is this same hard drug that renders Almajiris in the North useless, and we won’t allow this madness to creep in or fester among Biafran youths. We encourage every community to have departments to checkmate those selling and taking Mkpuru Mmiri. “Our enemies want to render many youths useless.


They have killed many before now thinking that their plans can reduce our youths. They changed to give them hard drugs.


IPOB must checkmate them and they will not succeed. Our youths in various communities must ensure they report those involved in this madness to IPOB office for proper torturing because we don’t want this to creep into our territory. “IPOB hereby declares war against this nonsense.


We shall go after those taking or distributing this harmful illicit drug. Henceforth, anyone found peddling, consuming or in any way involved in the distribution of this illicit drug shall be decisively dealt with.


“Biafran youths are known for their enterprising spirit, entrepreneurship and diligence. IPOB will not allow evil men and unpatriotic elements to ruin or destroy the future of our youths with Mkpuru Mmiri.


“While we commend communities who have already risen to curb this evil, we solicit useful information about those behind the distribution of this illicit drug, so we will teach them in the language they understand.


“Our desire is that Biafra will be one of the best countries in the world and a role model for sister African countries. This is the mindset we want our youths to imbibe, ” the group stated.




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