Senate President Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has expressed worry over the increasing drug menace in the northern part of Nigeria, a habit which has far-reaching consequences.
In a short speech made available to Elombah.com on Saturday, Saraki said:
“I am particularly worried about the drug menace in the Northern part of the country.
“It is time that we recognize this problem and address it in a sensible manner.
“I will be pushing for the National Assembly to review all relevant laws on abuse.
“This will help to curb the widespread misuse of illegal and unsanitary substances.
“The Senate will engage with all relevant stakeholders as we initiate this process.”
Drug abuse causes a wide range of medical, mental and behavioural disorder which increases violence, criminal behaviour and exposes young people to sexual misconduct, STIs and HIV/AIDS.
This makes the crime of drug trafficking (that is the illegal cultivation, manufacture distribution and sale of substances subject to drug prohibition laws) a serious affair in every country.
Governments at all levels, as well as parents and guardians, are encouraged to better understand the crime and effect of drug abuse and trafficking.
Incidentally, a reference work titled “How Drug Addiction Threatens A Generation Of Northern Women”, published by ICIRNIGERIA, shows that the menace is not gender-sensitive.
The work shows that even women are becoming more and more in the negatives consequences of drug and its abuse.
The investigations show that “a great percentage of young women across northern Nigeria, including students of tertiary institutions, working class ladies, married women and a vast majority of unemployed girls, are hooked on drugs.”
The report continues:
“However, they have rewritten the drug as the new high lies not in prohibited narcotic substances such as heroine, cocaine and cannabis, but in simple codeine, commonly found in cough syrups.
“The rising drug use among young girls and women may be the fallout of increasing drug use among young men.
“However, the women, finding hard drugs like cocaine too strong and disruptive, have taken to “safer” “softer” drug such as codeine, which although is banned but is commonly found in cough syrup.
“To augment this, the ladies also take a mixture of prescription drugs, which medical experts tell ICIRNIGERIA, are counterfeit painkillers.
“At the start of our investigation, it was thought that the problem was typical of the North west, but investigations showed that the drug problem could be even worse among women ion the North east, which has been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.”
The report further said that “while drug abuse, especially cannabis, has been a long time problem among male youths in the North, codeine cough syrup is the emerging cancer ravaging women and girls in the North from Kaduna to Borno and Yobe to Nasarawa.
“Codeine syrup has become the favourite drug of abuse by all classes of girls and women in the north, but most especially the daughters and wives of the wealthy.
“The smallest bottle of codeine syrup costs up to N600, while some cost as high as N1,000. Some of the girls admit they could take up to eight bottles in a day.”
Painfully, according to the report, since many of the girls and women, including housewives, are neither career nor business women, the habit is sustained by a legion of “boyfriends” who buy for them.”
Shuaibu Maituraki, an ex-drug user who now runs an NGO devoted to rehabilitating drug addicts in Kano, is worried that many young girls and even married women are wasting their lives doing drugs.
He said married women who do not keep boyfriends use their housekeeping money to buy codeine and that addiction has also led many of the women into debts or vices and crimes such as stealing of jewelries at social functions.
Maituraki, whose father is also a wealthy Kano businessman, said he established the Youth Awareness Forum On Drug Abuse, YAFODA, to save Kano youths from destruction from drug addiction
Addiction to codeine syrup is turning the otherwise conservative girls and women of the North into social miscreants and rebellious housewives.
It is increasingly becoming common to see Northern girls and women at night clubs and social spots where they have freedom to drink codeine, take their tablets and smoke cigarette, and return home wearing hijab.
More women now are believed to keep late nights since they cannot indulge in addiction freely at home.
It is common in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Yola and some other cities in the North, to see women check into hotels or guest houses during the day to indulge themselves before going back home at night.
It is at these relaxation spots that many of the women rendezvous with boyfriends or men friends or just fellow girls and women.
It is, evidently, on this note that Saraki said that he will push for the National Assembly to review all relevant laws on abuse to curb the widespread misuse of illegal and unsanitary substances.
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