Zakami, other illicit substance take heavy toll on communities in Nasarawa state.

By Ibrahim Sulaiman

A local strain of non-conventional drugs, which has been making waves in parts of Nasarawa State has continued to be a major source of concern to people across the state.
Nasarawa Eye investigation discovered that this local strain of drug known as Zakami used by some youths for recreational purposes is being widely abused by criminal-minded individuals.
A Lafia-based non-governmental organisation, Akalakpa Development Foundation first made public the inherent dangers involved in using the local strain of drug known as Zakami in June 2014.
Founding partner of the NGO, Emmanuel Ogah told Nasarawa Eye however that he embarked on creating awareness about what the substance called Zakami as far back as 2007 to alert the general public about its harmful effects, lamenting that to date it is not officially considered as an illegal substance in the state.
Ogah, who is also a Psychiatric Nursing Officer in the state, explained that Zakami is found in the form of seeds from wild plants which are usually put in any drink to innocent people resulting in the victims becoming unconscious for a long period, leading to deaths or serious mental problems.
He maintained that thieves, rapists and others have been increasingly using Zakami to carry out their nefarious activities, and many innocent victims have become psychotic patients while others end up dead after using the substance.
At the state headquarters, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA in Lafia, the Administrative/Information Officer, Violet Daniel Lakwa told Nasarawa Eye that the agency is well aware of the existence of Zakami and other non-conventional substances, but that no research has yet been conducted to verify the extents of their effects on people.
She however lamented that lack of funding has been the greatest undoing of the agency as far as such research efforts are concerned, appealing to the state lawmakers to enact a law to make Zakami and other illicit substances (like lizard excreta, sukudie, cough syrup, etc.) illegal, otherwise those caught in the state would always be freed from prosecution.
Meanwhile, when contacted on phone, the Chairman House Committee on Judiciary, State House of Assembly, Abubakar Muhammad Zanwa acknowledged the relevance of enacting a law illegalising the substances, but was not forthcoming on when the law would be in place. There is however an urgent need for the government in Nasarawa state to criminalize the consumption of all non conventional drugs in the state to stem the tide of wanton consumption of the substance which has been of major concerned to parents.

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