By John Ikani
The House of Representatives on Thursday said production of crystal meth has meteorically increased ever since Mexican drug dealers set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of the highly addictive drug in 2016.
The lawmakers have therefore mandated the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to go after peddlers of Methamphetamine nicknamed Mkpuru-Mmiri and other hard drugs in the country with a view to stamping them out.
The lower chamber also directed the Federal Government to develop a national policy to combat meth and other narcotics across the country.
These resolutions followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Henry Nwawuba (APC, Imo) on Thursday during the plenary.
Nwawuba in his motion raised the alarm of the scourge in some South-east states. He said over 70 per cent of the users are suffering from the adverse effect of the drugs.
He also noted the highly addictive street form of the pharma grade amphetamine and the ill-equipped handling or stopping of the spread.
“Many homes in the south east are currently facing the dangerous effect of Methampheramine nick-named Mkpuru-Mmiri which translates to seed of water.
“Crystal meth is a crystal narcotic hallucinogen that is capable of destroying a person mentally.
“An estimated 75 percent of the users in our society are adversely affected and they have become a burden to their families and communities.
“Since 1990 the production of Crystal Meth has been hijacked by Mexican drug dealers who set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of Mkpuru Mmiri in 2016,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Lynda Ikpeazu (PDP, Anambra) said the consequences of meth would be dire in the next 10years.
According to the lawmaker, NDLEA agents have failed to arrest meth dealers despite operating in the open. She stated that even 11years old children are also using meths in her constituency.
“It does sound like a joke, but it is actually very serious and killing a lot of people. 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 11years old person taking meth. What kind of future are we expecting these youths to have? We are going to have a doped up society, a Zombie society. That is not good,” she said.
The Deputy Minority leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), while supporting the motion, frowned on public flogging of addicts. Rather, the government should focus on rehabilitation and arrest of dealers, he said.
Also, Jonathan Gaza (APC, Nasarawa), in his contribution, said the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should be at the forefront of public enlightenment.
The lawmaker said the NDLEA cannot do the work alone.
Others who spoke on the motion include Shehu Kakale (APC, Sokoto), Abubakar Namdas (APC, Adamawa), Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP, Kogi) and Ifeanyi Momoh (PDP, Anambra).
What you should know
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant used as a recreational drug.
The drug was synthesized in Japan in 1919 and grossly abused during World War II when it was issued to pilots on suicidal mission then called KamiKaze.
“After the world war, it was used briefly as a medication for depression and for controlling obesity, but it was quickly abandoned and banned thereafter, especially in the 1970s.
“As a stimulant, it has a powerful euphoric effect similar to those of cocaine.
“Meth typically keeps users awake depriving them of sleep, making them react violently and takes a toll on the physical look of its users,” he said.
In 2016, officials of the NDLEA burst a meth lab in Asaba, the capital of Delta State. Four Mexicans were arrested at this lab during the raid.
Also, in 2018, a raid on a lab in Obinagwu in Ebonyi State uncovered another major meth production point in Nigeria.
Recently, the discourse into the meth scourge increased following a viral video showing flogging of addicts by community members.