Multi-billion Naira narcotic drugs market in Nigeria: where the culprits are
Chikezie Omeje, September 13, 2016
An average of eight thousand persons are arrested for narcotic drug offences each year in Nigeria. About 95% of them are males.
In the past six years, from 2010 to 2015, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 48 thousand suspected drug offenders and convicted about 10 thousand offenders.
The commonest of these drugs is cannabis (Indian Hemp). Others are cocaine, heroin, ephedrine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and psychotropic substance.
The United Nations Office for Drug and Crime 2014 World Drug Report and International Narcotic Control Board 2013 Report ranked Nigeria highest in Africa for cannabis seizure.
From 2010 to 2015, NDLEA has seized over two million kilogrammes of narcotic drugs. In 2015 alone, NDLEA seized drugs weighing 903,624kg with an estimated street value of 22 billion Naira. This was the biggest ever seizure in a year in the country.
According to the data from NDLEA and published by the National Burea of Statistics (NBS), Kano State and the North West region of Nigeria lead the rest of the country in the number of persons arrested and convicted for drug offences.
Kano and Katsina states which are in the North-West lead the rest of 36 States and Federal Capital Territory in drug offences.
Between 2010 and 2014, over 3694 suspects were arrested but 953 were convicted in Kano. This represented the highest number of arrest and prosecution in a state in the country. Katsina State which came second in the number of arrested suspects was sixth in conviction with only 383 persons convicted against 2395 arrested during this period.
The North West had the highest number of arrested suspects with 28%, followed by 19% in South West and 16% in South South. North East and South East had the lowest number of arrested suspects with 11% and 12% respectively while North Central was 14%.
“If you take an estimate of 10 boys particularly in Kano, seven will be on drugs,” said the former Director General of NDLEA, Mr Otunba Ipinimisho. He also noted that about 40% of Nigerian youths are into drug abuse ,pointing out that the northern part of the country is the most affected.
However, only three states of Ondo, Edo and Delta account for 55% of the total quantity of drugs seized by NDLEA from 2010 to 2014. The states are in the South West and South South where cannabis cultivation is a thriving business.
While Only 24, 059kg and 4,500kg of drugs were seized in Kano and Katsina respectively, 254, 700kg and 231, 461kg of drugs were seized in Ondo and Edo from 2010 to 2014.