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Nigeria’s Drug Lords

Nigeria’s drug problem is widely considered to be one of the worst in the world. Not only is the prevalence of drug abuse and addiction among citizens extremely high, this Western African country also has one of the most sophisticated and well-connected drug trafficking syndicates ever known. As a result, crime in the country is rampant and often spills across its borders with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. Unfortunately, drug-crime syndicates in Nigeria have grown so powerful that the government has grown increasingly more powerless as a result of corruption and violence. Understanding this problem is crucial because ultimately, most of the drugs that are transported out of Nigeria end up in Europe and America.

In Nigeria control of the drug trade also means control of law enforcement, government and even infrastructure. Nigerian drug lords possess and wield incredible power in this regard and have become so entrenched in the last twenty to thirty years that today’s Nigerian law enforcement efforts are more about control than eradication. In an article for Africa Recovery, Ronald Neal states;

“Since the early 1980s Nigeria has earned an international reputation as a hub for trafficking in hard drugs. As the trade in heroin and cocaine is very profitable, ever larger numbers of people were attracted to it. By the 1990s the menace of drug trafficking had international, as well as national, ramifications. Nigerian syndicates alone are said to control an estimated 50 per cent of the entire illegal heroin in the world, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.” (1)

This indicates the truly global reach of Nigerian drug lords when you consider that most of the world’s opium (primary ingredient to make heroin) comes from Afghanistan. This means that opium is trafficked from the Middle East all the way across the continent of Africa and then on to the rest of the world. Nigerian drug lords manage these complicated operations by posting representatives in nearly every country in the world to help source and distribute drugs – primarily heroin and cocaine.

Crime and lawlessness as a result of the powerful grip drug lords have on Nigeria is practically run-of-the-mill for this country of more than 158,000,000. (World Bank) But despite efforts to contain the problem after the United States issued a scathing report on the country’s willingness to fight drug trafficking, Nigerian drug lords have proven more powerful and significantly better-funded than law enforcement agencies. As a result, disturbing crimes have become normal – including child prostitution rings.

Many of Nigeria’s drug lords have engaged in human trafficking and forced prostitution practices on young girls. These drug lords often keep children under control by kidnapping them and removing them far from their homes and addicting them to heroin. In an article concerning the Tanya Flowerday case, Martin Strohm writes;

“During the second half of November, 28 child prostitutes were rescued and 67 Nigerians arrested in Durban and Johannesburg. Most of the Nigerians were illegal immigrants. Almost all of the girls were between 10 and 15 years old. Some were lured with money or drugs, some were runaways, some had been sold by their parents, and others were kidnapped.” (2)

Other crimes perpetrated by Nigerian drug lords include murder-for-hire, bribery, coercion and even murder of government officials, and substantial money laundering efforts. In fact, Nigeria is considered by many to be the world’s hotbed for money laundering activities.

But unlike in the U.S. and other developed countries, most people in Nigeria don’t have any drug addiction treatment options. They are forced to live with their addictions and the crime of Nigerian drug syndicates indefinitely.

If you or someone you love has become involved in drugs and developed an addiction, we’re fortunate enough here in the U.S. to be able to offer extensive treatment options. To learn what we can do for you, call the number at the top of your screen right now.

(1) Neal, Robert V. Merchants of death target Africa – Countries used as springboards for international drug trafficking Africa Recovery Online
Accessed 10/22/2011

(2) Strohm, Martin Tanya Flowerday: Snuff Victim? True TV Crime Library
Accessed 10/22/2011

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More