The thriving hard drug trade in Abuja

by Vanguard
(25/10/15)

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) may need to intensify its effort at ridding Abuja of hard drugs that is now being sold in every nook and cranny of the city.


There has been an increase in drugs and substance abuse nationwide especially amongst teenagers and young adults aged with no exception.

World Health Organization (WHO) describes drugs and substance abuse as “the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs”.

It also refers to a condition in which a person consumes the substance in quantities or with procedures which are not approved or monitored medically.

Substance and drugs abuse encompasses the use of “mood-altering or psycho-active drugs; illicit drugs – narcotics; stimulants; depressants (sedatives); hallucinogens; cannabis; glues and paints, substance abuse often includes problems with impulse control and impulsive behaviour”.

NDLEA operativeThey either stimulate or depress the central nervous system and produce sedative, stimulants, hallucinogenic, exhilarative, brain dysfunctional physical and psychological disorders on an individual The twist to the sale of hard drugs in Abuja is that it has gone beyond the era when peddlers carried out their trade with fear.

Small shop owners have been introduced into the business. Customers openly visit the shops, Sunday Vanguard investigation revealed One wrap of marijuana, it was found, is sold between N20 and N50, depending on the area of the nation’s capital city.

Codeine syrup, which ordinarily should be sold to patients based on doctors’ prescription is now sold by owners of small shops, popularly referred to as kiosks. It was unclear how the shop owners get their supply, but they readily have the products available for any customer who discreetly walks into their shops to buy. Just recently, a 34-year-old man was arrested by the police in Kubwa for allegedly selling Codeine and other hard drugs to residents of the satellite town.

The suspect, identified as Kelechi, posed as a patent medicine dealer. He was apprehended with two of his customers while dispensing the drugs to the customers, mostly teenagers, in his shop located at Kukwaba area.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that nemesis caught up with him when one of his customers, a teenager who succumbed to pressure from his father, revealed the identity of the (suspected) drug dealer.

The source added that after showing the father the shop, the father alerted the police who immediately visited the shop and arrested the suspect.

“Two of the police officers in mufti entered the shop, pretending they were there to buy drugs and, as soon as he brought out the drugs, they got him arrested together with two of his customers.”

A carved out red light zone in the heart of Kubwa district, popularly referred to as Woman Boku, could compete with the Soho London red light district, an area inhabited by commercial sex workers, pimps, drug dealers, bars, and distinct night crawlers, in the drug game.

Woman Boku won its popularity owing to the criminal activities carried out there.

A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on drug activities in the FCT over a five-year period, 2010. – 2014, revealed seized 31,614.58kg of narcotic drugs and 475 suspects prosecuted.

The NBS report indicated that 2013 recorded the highest number of drugs seized.

In that year, NDLEA confiscated 13,622kg of narcotic drugs, which was higher than 3,807.71kg seized in 2011.

The report further showed that in 2012 and 2014, 5,094.30kg and 6,440.20kg of illegal drugs were seized, respectively.

There is cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, Indian hemp and a few others which bear criminal tags and as such banned from open sale and consumption. But no one will ever consider an ordinary cough syrup like Benylin or lizard faeces, inhaling the sting from sock away as among substances categorized as ‘hard drug’.

Those lizards, captured alive, are kept in cages, just like poultry farms and cattle ranches. They’re fed daily and their dung collected, dried and kept. The users then blend the dung and rap it in small papers for use. While some users inhale the blended dung, others smoke it like marijuana. The intoxicating effect of the dung is believed to be 50 percent higher than marijuana and cocaine.

Although, lizard dung has not officially been banned by relevant agencies of government, there are strong indications that it could turn into a multi-million Naira industry with the potential of selling the ‘finished products’ at robust prices. The demand for tit on the streets of Nigeria’s major cities, particularly Abuja, has beaten the standard set by cocaine addicts. The abuse of the substances got so alarming that the Federal Government banned the sale of Benylin with Codeine off the counter except with a medical doctor’s prescription.

Codeine is primarily used to treat mild to moderate pain and to relieve cough. It is also used to treat diarrhoea and diarrhoea predominant irritable bowel syndrome. The reality however is that the criminalization and high cost of the usual hard drugs listed above have in combination with other factors led to the discovery of other potent substances with similar stimulant and/or suppressant effects on the central nervous system by consumers of hard drugs especially teenagers.

Effort have been made through the Nigerian Customs Services, Immigration and the police to checkmate the activities of drug-pushers/users. This onerous task, however, proved a Herculean task.

The Commander of the FCT Command of NDLEA, Chinyere Obijuru has, in the meantime, called on Abuja residents to be alert to any possible existence of methamphetamine laboratories which, she disclosed, does not only pose risks to users but also to residents.

Obijuru stated that the command plans to build a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts while soliciting the support for a land from Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) to actualise its plan.

The FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Obinna Chukwu, confirmed the seizure.

The Permanent Secretary revealed that the Task Team discovered the hard drugs in a depot during its covert operation at Tura-Bura, behind Apo Roundabout.

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