Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have discovered another methamphetamine Clandestine Laboratory at Shapeti, off Lekki-Epe Expressway Lagos. Methamphetamine is a powerful addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. The current laboratory which is the sixth of such illegal methamphetamine production factories uncovered in the last two years is located opposite two private nursery schools.
This development according to the Agency is highly injurious to public health and safety. The schools are Rock of Ages Creche Nursery and Primary School and Regal Gems International School. The building used for the illegal production has been sealed by NDLEA. Methamphetamine weighing 31.7kg was also recovered from the laboratory. A Nissan Xterra Jeep belonging to suspected mastermind of the laboratory was impounded along with other documentary and material evidences.
A thirty-eight year-old man with dual nationality of Nigeria and South Africa by name Michael Anum has been arrested in connection with the laboratory. Mr. Anum who is believed to be the owner of a transport company in South Africa is currently being investigated by the anti-narcotic Agency.
NDLEA Lagos State commander, Aliyu Sule who supervised the operation disclosed that the command acted on intelligence reports. According to Aliyu, “we acted on intelligence report on the illicit activities taking place at the laboratory. When we raided the premises, we observed that methamphetamine production was in progress. A total of 31.7kg of methamphetamine have been seized at the laboratory”.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade in his response commended the arresting officers for the discovery. “This latest discovery of illegal Methamphetamine laboratory is commendable. The Agency is determined to arrest this disturbing drug trend in the country. Drug barons have no hiding place in the country because our counter-intelligence service will soon detect their inimical activities and bring them to justice”.
Giade who ordered a full scale investigation into the matter assured Nigerians that the Agency will not rest until the threat of narcotics is eliminated. In his words, “drug cartels locate their laboratories close to schools and residential buildings regardless of the risk of contamination to innocent school children, their teachers and other residents. No matter their antics, we shall continue to dislodge drug production and trafficking syndicates”.
The NDLEA boss added that efforts are ongoing to ascertain a possible link between the suspect and other drug syndicates both within and outside the country. “We are working to establish a link between the suspect and other drug syndicates. Our records show that these cartels daily recruit drug mules to smuggle locally produced methamphetamine to South Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The Agency will continue to make the exit points impregnable through superior drug control techniques” Giade stated.
Strategies being adopted by the Agency to address the drug problem according to the Chairman include capacity building of officers on clandestine laboratory operations. This he said is being done through series of local and international training programmes. Five laboratories have so far been discovered in Lagos while one was detected in Nanka, Anambra State.
While reassuring Nigerians of a peaceful society, Giade urged members of the public to remain vigilant. “Let me urge members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious drug activity to the Agency. A clandestine laboratory can be detected by a strong smell of urine or unusual chemicals, jars containing clear liquid with a white or red colored solid on the bottom and chemicals”.
Methamphetamine is a whitish, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is often called meth, chalk, ice and crystal. Abuse of meth can increase the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV and hepatitis B and C. This is usually through sharing of contaminated syringes, needles, and other paraphernalia.
Intoxicating effects of methamphetamine alters judgment and inhibition resulting to unprotected sex and accidents. Toxins from meth production can remain in the environment around a production area long after it has been shut down.
Meth even in small doses can increase wakefulness and physical activity while also decreasing appetite. It can also cause cardiovascular problems such as rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat and increased blood pressure. Chronic abuse is characterised by anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behaviour. Other features include paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations as well as delusions.