Chiefs and community members of Area 47 in Lilongwe have given police a two-week ultimatum to clean up a drug syndicate and flush out all Nigerians from the area.
They have warned that they will take the law into their own hands if there is no action.
The ultimatum was made yesterday afternoon at Mkwichi Secondary School in Lilongwe where the chiefs held a meeting with the community members to chart the way forward on drug abuse in the area.
Chairperson for Chiefs Forum in the area, Alex Shema, said drug abuse in the area is a big challenge that needs concerted efforts to address.
“People here have lost trust in the way police are dealing with the situation, despite being tipped of the known drug markets. So we need solutions,” he said when opening the meeting.
On her part, human rights activist Emma Kaliya said people are angry that authorities are not doing anything tangible.
“This story needs to be concluded fast. Children are being abused and are dying. Something needs to be done, people are angry,” she said.
Central Region community policing chairperson Pastor Edson Jere asked the communities to work together with chiefs, police, and government in fighting the drug problem.
“Let’s work together as a community on this matter of national importance. The major challenge in our operations is that some of you use your positions of influence to talk directly to the Inspector General if one of your kids or relatives is arrested so that makes us powerless ,” he said.
One of the concerned members, Hellen Chabunya, who spoke on behalf of the community members, said the meeting had resolved to give the police two weeks to resolve the problem.
“We are giving the police two weeks to act or else we will march to the Nigerian High Commissioner’s office. It is strange that the high commissioner released a press statement saying we are victimising their people when he doesn’t know what his people are doing. They have opened brothels and are doing disgusting things drugging our girls and using them to transfer drugs, who is a victim here?” said Chabunya, who had earlier testified that two of her close relations have fallen victim to the drug problem in the area.
Another member, Charles Nyirenda, who is also director of Health Rights Initiative, said the community is worried that Malawi will soon become a drug den.
“These foreigners are using Malawi as a drug conduit to transfer drugs across countries because our actions have not been concerted,” he said.
When contacted after the meeting yesterday, Nigerian Community chairperson Ken Nwosu declined to comment, saying he had not received any communication from the meeting.
“Actually, I am not in a position to communicate because we have nothing to that effect,” he said.
Yesterday’s meeting follows the death Riyadh Randera,26, an Area 47 resident who died in Brazil allegedly after some of the drug-filled condoms he had swallowed to evade detection by international law-enforcers, burst in his stomach.
Nigerian national Alex Ojukwu, who is nicknamed Old Man and who confessed to having bought Randera an air ticket for the trip for a holiday, was arrested by police over the matter.
Sixteen more people have since been arrested in connection with the matter. n