By Anselem Anokwute
A member of the newly constituted Imo state task force committee against illicit drugs and related offences, Hon. Kelechi Azike who doubles as the former All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant for the Owerri North state constituency seat, has described the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s decision, as timely and meant to save the youths from the dangers associated with the consumption of illicit drugs which often cause serious health challenges.
Hon. Azike condemned in its entirety, the high level of Indian hemp smoking in the state and promised to fish out the dealers and farmers of the dangerous substance so as to foreclose it’s circulations. He noted that even children and wards of most parents and guardians now indulge in the act.
The Egbu Owerri North born youth leader, said that his committee will ensure that the state is rid of consumers of such Indian hemp and other harmful related hard drugs. He opined that the governor’s decision to set up a task force committee, comprising people of impeccable character to checkmate the activities of Indian hemp dealers and their customers, is commedable.
He maintained that the committee will also help to reintegrate those who will take the governor’s decisions serious by denouncing and renouncing both selling and smoking of the dangerous leaves, back to the society while the commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment, Hon. Mrs. Ogechi Ololo will also use her office to put smiles on their faces.
He therefore called on Indian hemp sellers to use the opportunity to forsake the illegal business and embrace a new life which the governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, in his magnanimity has offered to them.
He further maintained that the task force committee will partner with the law enforcement agency mainly the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to get it right in the fight against illicit drug peddlers and users in the state. He noted that smoking of Indian hemp is predominantly amongst youths, is major cause of crime and criminality in the society as well as major cause of mental ill health, amongst the youths and called on community leaders including the traditional rulers to help out with useful information to enable the task force committee succeed in it’s onerous assignment.
Meanwhile, Okorocha’s actions are coming at a time, the rest of the world is planning to legalize the consumption and cultivation of marijuana (aka) Indian hemp. Just recently ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo called for the legalization and control of marijuana which he said is a herb with various medicinal potency against a number of diseases. Elsewhere many pharmaceutical industries are churning out different of drugs with marijuana as expients. According to some medical sources, addition of marijuana in the fortification of a number of drugs is said to increase their efficacy and capacity for healing.
It is therefore against this backdrop that many see Okorocha’s recent action as face-saving, playing to the gallery and a huge joke. They argued that of all the myriad of problems plaguing Imo people, like total lack of public water supply in Owerri, total blackout and at times erratic power supply increasing and unaffordable transport fares, reintroduction of school fees in model Boys Secondary School, World Bank Housing Estate Owerri and poor network of roads, a situation where Okorocha has refused to complete the World Bank Estate ring roads making them death traps and impassable, what he considers paramount is an outdated anti-drugs law that has been overtaken by time and events.