On an Abuja evening i was walking to buy Yahuza Chicken Suya, a young man approached me and said he had “SK” for sale, i did not know what SK was, but everyone was buying and selling it, so i kept walking. later i understood SK is marijuana.
A very long time ago, in University i had a friend whose brother attended an American school in Lagos, (name withheld), she told me her brother was really not in school but he just attended to sell “Ice” to the students. I did not know what Ice was, but i pretended i knew, (she was a fine girl). later i understood Ice is Methamphetamine.
Dodging the Lagos evening rush hour traffic on Kuramo beach one evening (when it existed) a young man told me he had “Monkey Tail” and “Smoke” for sale, i didn’t know what those were, he did not show me the “monkey tail” but he showed me a small aluminium foil wrapped no bigger than his thumb, inside he told me was “smoke”…i later understood smoke was cocaine. i have a friend in Abuja, whose girlfriend died in a hotel of Cocaine overdose…yep Cocaine, she was with some rich kids.
I used to come early to work to beat the traffic, when i get there, i always saw this young man there, dressed for work, in his car, with air-conditioner on, i assumed he too was also there early to beat traffic. One day the security man told me the boy was asleep in his car till 9am, they tried to wake him up and had to force the car door open, he had bottles of cough medicine in his car…Cough medicine i thought, how odd…
One evening, i was in a football viewing center, doing some beer and fish i heard a lady tell her friends she wanted Fanta Syrup…syrup? in curiosity i watched, the server gave her Fanta, then she took out a bottle of cough medicine from her bag and emptied the contents into the Fanta…i later understood it was codeine in the syrup that was being abused.
When we watch movies about the West, we see a lot of sex, violence and drugs, for the large part, the Western concepts of sex and violence have permeated us, but drugs? i also ways assumed it was a fringe thing, at best folks are smoking marijuana. I was wrong. A business colleague of mine, a lady told me, her son took her bank card, and got out cash, then he came to her and confessed what he has done. Apparently her son has been doing drugs for months, she did not suspect, she said she assumed he was just getting drunk on alcohol, nothing more. she has put her son in rehab. She is lucky, She caught it early
Make no mistake, Nigeria now has a growing drug problem, the Nigerian Senate in 2017 stated that “over three million bottles of codeine syrup were consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa states alone”. Marijuana and Codeine are simply the larder drugs, soon there will be a graduation to higher potency drugs like cocaine and heroin. Many kids today are experimenting with Fanta juice and “smoke” because its cool, but once they get hooked, its over.
The biggest problem in Nigeria is we dont talk about things, if a family has a drug son, they will ship the son to the village or Church and say Juju or evil spirit. We do not want to face the reality that our kids are slowing beginning to experiment with illicit substances.to the youth, Codine is the new smoking
A few days ago, NDLEA impounded a trailer fully loaded with “cough syrup” at Funtua Katsina state, (picture attached) if they arrested this truck then i suspect many trucks have gotten away. Codine as far as i know is legal, and Nigeria is one of the few nations where you can walk into a shop, and legally buy medicine of any qualtity without a prescription. While it took Nigeria less than a month to pass and sign an Anti-Gay bill, there seem to no acknowledgement of this growing =drug problem in Nigeria,.The Senate pack in 2017 promised to revisit the NDLEA act with a view to updating it to current realities, that has not yet been done.
Nigeria need to get ahead of this, not just by arresting but by informing our youth on the evils of drugs. The real fight has to start from the family unit. If you are a parent reading this, pay attention, dont assume your kids are angels, pay attention to their friends and the energy levels, talk , take them to drug rehab and let them see people “jonsing” in pain.
Remember how our parents tried to block our generation from having premarital sex ? by not talking about sex?. dont fail your kids on this drug issue, believe me, its out there