The greatest danger currently sweeping across Igbo land apart from the ‘unknown gunmen or ungun knownmen’ is the menace of drug addiction represented by Mkpurummiri, the Igbo slang for Methamphetamine. This highly addictive stimulant that distorts the central nervous system looks like glass fragments and is chemically similar to amphetamine. It is a crystal narcotic hallucinogen, which could lead to insanity.
Many youths have been caught in its web by smoking, swallowing, snorting or injecting the powder that if dissolved in water or alcohol. Mkpurummiri has the same health effects as cocaine or amphetamines. It affects the brain adversely hence the addicts have become a huge burden to family and society.
According to the National Drug Law Enforcement, NDLEA, spokesman, Femi Babafemi: “Mkpurummiri is the Igbo slang for Methamphetamine or Crystal Meth, a very dangerous illicit drug. It looks like ice or white chalk crystal and sometimes can be blue. That is why the users sometimes refer to it as ‘ice.’ It can be dissolved in water.”
Mkpurummiri is a very addictive stimulant and could make the user hyperactive with a tendency to destruction, including suicide or homicide at the slightest provocation and without a feeling of remorse.
Nobody knows how Mkpurummiri became popular in the South-east but a highly organised drug cartel is suspected to be behind it.
One clear fact though is that it has swept across communities like wild fire and its hazardous effect on Igbo youths are benumbing.
Recently, horrific videos, depicting the ravaging effect of drugs on the youths have been trending. Many communities have risen to tackle the menace. They have embarked on sanitisation exercise by fishing out those involved in the sale snd consumption of Mkpurummiri and flogging them publicly in the village square.
The wave of drug addiction among the youths in the East forebodes ill of great and unimaginable proportion. This has become a scourge that must be eradicated by every means possible.
It is noteworthy that this affliction is more pronounced among the poor, who are frustrated into seeking solace in destruction without really knowing it. By the time they realise the harm they pose for themselves and their relations, they may have become irredeemable burden on the larger society.
Sometimes, children of the rich are affected but because their parents are enlightened and have the means, they are taken to rehabilitation centres and restored whereas the poor folks that imitated them and got enmeshed in the mess go about fighting spiritual warfare against what is obviously physical.
However, poor drug addicts pose great danger for everyone. That is how gangsters, Boko Haram, bandits, cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers are born; angry folks giving vent to their anger and frustration on a society they believe had neglected them.
They lack patience and can go to any length to satisfy their drug urge, and once stoned, they lack all semblance of reasonableness and could rape even their mothers or sisters.
A case in point was one young man that was stoned to death by his community youths in a viral video for killing his mother and sister under the influence of drugs.
The dirty, unkempt, appearance of drug addicts, with bushy hair, and vacant eyes easily mark them out. These boys have been hardened by the hard drugs they take. It is strange that having seen the harrowing effect of these drugs, someone still takes it. This is so because they have become subhuman. Even when flogged, they hardly betray any pain.
There is no doubt that the troubles of Nigeria are fueled by hard drugs and booze. Therefore, the urgent need for drastic steps to shame this demon.
Therefore, communities must collaborate with the NDLEA to identify all flashpoints and destroy them. Sellers and consumers must also be identified and arrested. All the sneaky spots, such as brothels, must also be identified, and the hookers chased away.
Without mincing words, the war should not be straightjacket. Every approach is welcome. Everything possible must be used to stop this menace, using the carrot and stick.
It is also instructive to engage the youths, especially during holidays and institute healthy competitions among them. That way, they can hardly derrail or be lured away. They need empowerment be too.
The community, church and NGOs must be actively involved in the fight. We should also recognise the importance of leadership, which seems to have failed. Today’s leaders seem to be more inclined to corruption and looting public coffers than be bothered about the misguided youths.
Basically, however, the fact remains that there is a serious problem at hand, which requires drastic solution. In tackling this, each community needs to evolve suitable strategy for the locality. In other words, what works in one area may not necessarily work in another.
Therefore, communities should be left to decide what suits them, including flogging, ostracising or banishment, with option for the repentant. That is where traditional rulers, the church, NGOs must be involved.
Some communities have also proscribed the sale and consumption of all illicit drugs and substances and warned those still undertaking such business to desist forthwith or risk being arrested and prosecuted with the support of the relevant security agencies.
Actually, it is like an amalgam of evil forces has collaborated to waste the youths of this country. I am more concerned with the wasted and wasting generation of Igbo land, trying hard to catch up with the derelicts of northern Nigeria.
For a very long time, northern Nigerian youths have been railroaded by frustration into toeing self-destructive paths. This is a region so blessed but so much cursed as well.
The northern region has manipulated its hold on the leadership of this country and emasculated every other region. They love to call the shots but their mental laziness has not only made the country a pariah but has also created a generation of zombies among the northern youths. Unfortunately, the misguided youths do not seem to understand that they are in bondage but ever ready to do battle to safeguard the estate of their oppressors.
When you hear them arguing about their North, you have nothing but pity for them because the evil spell of their tormentors has made their brain obtuse and opaque.
How come a section of the country that has ruled this country for most number of years is the most backward in virtually everything, drawing the country backwards? Some of the privileges they have forcefully taken over others is, in fact, humiliating, to say the least.
The fallout of such wickedness is the preponderance of almajiri children, roaming wide and easily used to cause mischief and mayhem. The Boko Haram insurgents are actually victims of political tricksters, masquerading as leaders. They have grown out of control and venting their anger on both their creators and a negligent society that watched while their destinies were scorched. Now everywhere and everyone in the North is endangered.
It is worrisome, therefore, seeing a likely scenario playing out in the South, especially the South-east where the youths are not only engaged in a fight for self-determination in Biafra without circumspection but have also imbibed a much more vicious and destructive romance with hard drugs, the same lifestyle that has turned some northern youths into Frankenstein.
The Igbo must erect a buffer between Egypt and Goshen. We cannot afford to waste this generation. They must be sensitised to retrace their steps from the oath of perdition. Igbo leaders on all fronts should rally and stop further festering of this evil.