It has become a common sight in Enugu, especially in several ghettos in the state, to see young boys and girls engaged in smoking of various substances that are dangerous to their health publicly.
The surrounding ghettos including AmaAwusa in Obiagu, bridge community in Ogui, Aguowa in Transekulu, Ikeriki, among others are areas dominated by smokers. Here, these youths openly brew these hard drugs without restriction. It is believed that the inability to easily access the areas contribute in making the illicit activity to thrive.
The resultant effect is that young boys and girls, who have become jobless by the situation of things, engage in them to eke out a
living. Others after taking them end up in other illegal activities.
In March this year, the Police Command in Enugu paraded over 40
suspects, majority of them youths whose ages ranged between 18 and 21 years. They were said to have either been involved in kidnapping, robbery
On Tuesday, April 5, the Police paraded another set of 21 culprits arrested for various offences. Those involved in the latest arrest had robbed at gunpoint, stolen vehicles, killed tricycle riders as well as raped women in communities.
Speaking while parading the suspects, State Commissioner of Police, Mr Nwodibo Ekechukwu attributed the rising crime rate to drug abuse, stressing that several youths have made smoking of dangerous drugs a hobby.
He stated that they either “eat, inhale or drink them”, adding that “they are no longer the same as soon as they consume the substance.
They are high and ready to commit anything they liked”, warning that the Command will not take kindly to anyone caught in the act.
Mrs Nneoma Okeke, who resides at Amaawusa told the Guardian that “we hardly have fresh air in the night because of the activities of these
people who engage in smoking hemp. They smoke the thing anyhow and anywhere. The point is that so many of them have sustained injuries from fight after taking the drugs or get killed during an argument. My worry is that each time, there was police presence in the area, they end up arresting the wrong people”. She blamed the low rent being paid in the area by the occupants as responsible.
Speaking further, Okeke stressed that one observation she has made from her area is that the gang of smokers are being joined by boys of secondary school ages on the wrong reason that it is a way of life.
She said there is need for increased campaign on the dangers of “hard and illicit drugs” in the society, stressing “before now these things
are done secretly, but today, there is no restriction anywhere. They wrap them as if they are holding a stick of cigarette; you can only know that it is the hard type when you perceive the smell. That is the level we have degenerated and I think something urgently needs to be done”.
At a workshop recently on the implication of hard drugs in an evolving society, a University don, Dr Kenneth Agu had told the story of a widow who was raped to death by a gang of three boys, who invaded her home in the night after gulping several wraps of Indian hemp and raped her until she gave up the ghost.