Community vows to punish drug offenders


By Adaora Ezeaka

Awkuzu community in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State has declared its intentions to punish drug offenders in what it called a declaration against manufacture, sale or abuse of illicit drugs and Substances within Awkuzu.

The 5 paragraphs declaration which came at the end of a Town Hall Meeting convened by a Non governmental Organisation, Balm for the Bruised Foundation, BFBF, in conjunction with the town's tradditional ruler's committee on drug eradication expressed concerns bout the increasing abuse of illicit drugs and substances among the youth population of Awkuzu; and because of its consciousness abouthe adverse health consequences and harmful effects of these drugs and substances amamongstoyouths, declared h Igwe  the traditional ruler, rofessor Sir Charles Mmaduegbuna Anikweze (NNAMENYI 111 OF AWKUZU), declared that:

The abuse of illicit drugs and substances is both morally wrong and unlawful and results in adverse health consequences, including psychological and mental challenges, hence will no longer be tolerated in Awkuzu. 

That the criminal groups involved in the supply chain, including manufacturing and distribution of these illicit drugs and substances, especially Methamphetamine (Mkpulu mmili), Tramadol, Codeine and others, will no longer be tolerated in Awkuzu as all lawful means shall be deployed against their criminal activities.

That Awkuzu Community shall strengthen partnership with the Law Enforcement Agencies especially the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to address the high incidence of abuse of thses drugs and substances in order to reverse the ugly trend in Awkuzu.

That all stakeholders in Awkuzu including the public and private sectors, religious organisations and Non-governmental organisations shall adopt anti-drugs and substances abuse approach in its activities in order to rid Awkuzu of this ugly menace.  

That Awkuzu Community shall regularly organize sensitization programme to enlighten our young population about the adverse health consequences of non-medical use of illicit drugs and substances.

The town hall meeting which had commenced with a road walk which took the traditional ruler, his cabinet, members of Balm for the Bruised Foundation and Awkuzu youths round the town sensitizing people on the health dangers and  consequences of hard drugs and illicit substances terminated at Saint Raphael’s Catholic Church Awkuzu, venue for the town hall meeting.

Speaking, Igwe Professor Anikweze, who said that the problem of drug and Illicit substance abuses are not peculiar to Awkuzu Community or Anambra State as it is a national phenomenon, regretted that the greatest actors and victims of the ugly menace are young people, who are leaders and custodians of the future.

For the Chief Executive, Balm for the Bruised, Princess Ekwi Ajide, the essence of the programme was to sensitize people on the need to stay away from hard drugs especially Mkpulumili as well as finding a way to curb the menace.

She said that the town hall meeting was aimed at enabling them fashion out plans that would be more suitable for the African setting in tackling the problem and called on youths to disassociate themselves from anything that can truncate their dreams and solicited more engagement and of youths in scheme of things to give them a sense of belonging.

A guest speaker, the South Eas Zonal Coordinator of the International Society of Substance Use Prevention Professionals, ISSUP,  Professor Michael Ezanwa, listed effects of hard drugs to include damage to the brain, the Spinal cord and influence thought, perception and behaviour.

Professor Ezenwa who is a lecturer at the Department of Psychology Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, warned that unless communities tackle the problem of substance use urgently, development may elude them.

Other speakers including the Onowu of Awkuzu, Architect Eric Onyekwena, a member of the committee on drugs eradication, Chief Michael Chilokwu and Awkuzu youth leader, Comrade Chigozie Muozie commended the initiative saying that it will go a long way in curbing the menace as the abuse of hard drugs which is a threat to future development of any community is ravaging the town. They warned that any person caught producing, selling or consuming them after the declaration will face the full wrath of the law.

Some participants at the town hall meeting, Chinenye Nwankwo, Obiora  Chinweze and Ikechukwu Okuzu were full of praises for the organizers, and urged fellow youths to shun any kind of hard drug especially Mkpulumili as it destroys their future and community.



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