FACE OF AN ANGEL
A DEADLY ASSASSIN
Northern Nigeria is the new drug capital of Africa.
By Bash Bakr
Chairman Editorial Board
The portion of young northerners who take highly addictive drugs is now the highest in Africa, a report revealed yesterday. It further emphasized that, tackling the harm caused by drugs is one of the most formidable challenges the world faces today.’
For the first time, the percentage of 15 to 34-years olds trying drugs has overtaken that of the whole of Ghana. Nearly one in 20 young northerner took drug, including cocaine last year, as it replaced cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines as the current most fashionable drug among the youths.
The class A’ drug boom in Kano/Kaduna (including Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto and Jos) brought a fierce warning from the report’s researchers that cocaine/marijuana could now be starting to have ‘a major impact on public health and economy of that region.’
The report by a New York-based /European drugs monitoring agency signals a landmark in the rise of addictive drug abuse. For decades, Americans have been the chief users of addictive drugs, which has been cheaply and easily available in cities over there.
Until the last decade, cocaine/marijuana was usually seen in Africa as the preserve of pop stars and city traders. But low prices, an increasing supply, and the unpopularity of other drugs has meant that northern Nigeria – together with Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar and Cairo- now has the highest level of cocaine consumption among their young’s.
Figures showed that 5.9 percent of men and women aged between 15 and 34 used the drugs in Northern Nigeria last year-around 3.1 million young people. Alarming it is, compare to a decade ago, which stood at 180,000 young people in Kano, Kaduna and Jos especially.
In American of today, the percentage is slightly lower considering population indices. The cocaine/marijuana consumption of young northern Nigeria is at more than twice the European average of 2.4 percent.
The most concerning statistics showed high level of addictive drug abuse among 15 and 16-years old. Six per cent of teenagers at or below school- leaving age have tried an addictive drug.
The popularity of cocaine among young people is reflected in its use by celebrities. A popular Nigerian musician was pictured in a song video allegedly snorting what looks like cocaine-but continued to get lucrative national/international contracts. Another international pop singer, a one-time heroin user, was recently pictured leaving a talk show with a white substance in her nostril. Actors and actresses in their videos are not left out in the huge indirect promotion/exposure. The pictures of drugs are now everywhere, hence the steady rise of the ASSASSIN.
The report by the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction said; ‘Cocaine is now, after cannabis, the second most commonly used illicit drug in the world.
It added that ‘socially integrated’ cocaine users-those who hold down job and live respectable lives -are at a high risk of health problems. This findings come at a time when African leaders have been congratulating themselves over a decline in level of use of cannabis among young people on the continent. That fall indeed came three years ago, due to instability in most regions, but it has sharply risen again unknowingly to these leaders, whose children are part of the crusaders. Using the networks and wealth of their parents to keep it flowing and profitable.
However, the report said that the drug, still smoked by a fifth of people under 24 in northern Nigeria last year-is increasingly and intensively smoked. This, it added, is causing serious ‘health concerns and loss of manpower to propel the northern economy to meet-up with a state like Lagos and Kigali in human prosperity.
Susan Anthony, of campaign group Africa against drugs, said; ‘older teens are turning to cocaine in norther Nigeria instead of cannabis. ‘Cocaine is cool, it’s cheap, and cannabis is out of fashion.’
Nigeria Government and northern monarchs are expected to take concrete actions to curb the spread, as it will not only further set-back the troubled north but also pull the whole country along, and at the mercy of the ASSASSIN.
Business Magnetics Research UK/Africa
Editorial Team Desk Jan. 2018.