The mainstream notion is that Nigeria is waging war against corruption and terrorism.
There is another war that Nigeria is fighting and it is the war against drugs. Many people do not know about this war because it gets little press time compared to corruption and terrorism.
However, the war against drugs is deadly as the other two. An AFP report published on Thursday, December 20, 2018, claims that Nigeria is on its way to becoming a narco-state.
A country whose economy is reliant on the trade of illegal drugs is called a narco-state. According to the AFP report "Nigeria is potentially following the same footsteps as Mexico that led to instability, organised crime and an infiltrated government."
The drug that is fuelling this projection is known as meth. According to WebMD, methamphetamine (meth for short) also known as crystal meth is "a strong and highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system."
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The underlining danger about meth in Nigeria is that we are producing it here unlike cocaine and heroin. "The country's first meth lab was discovered in 2011, authorities have found 14 more producing mass quantities of the stimulant, while seizures of the drug have jumped from 177 kilos in 2012 to 1,363 kilos in 2016," says AFP.
With meth being easy to produce it poses a real threat to the drug abuse situation in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr Yury Fedotov at a briefing at the UN Security Council session said West and Central Africa, along with North African countries, accounted for 87 per cent of pharmaceutical opioids seized globally.
While the efforts of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are much appreciated, a lot has to be done to deal with drug culture and abuse in Nigeria.
Nigeria needs to come up with a strategy which differs from that of America (which has been a failure) to cancel this impending doom. From Lagos to Kano, young Nigerians are hooked on opioids.
This shouldn't be tossed away as youthful exuberance but rather a symptom of a failed state that has refused to look after its youth. The high rate of poverty and unemployment seasoned with the terrible state of education has created a recipe for disaster.
The conditions if Nigeria has adversely affected the mental health of young people who are finding it hard to exist in a country that does not care for them. To deal with the mental stress, many have turned to drugs as a form of escapism from the harsh realities of the world we live in.
Just like in South America, the hopeless trapped in poor economic conditions have turned to meth creation to beat the poverty trap.
What the war on drugs needs is not super blowtorches burning meth labs or the kicking of doors by men in black boots. What our war on drugs needs is the realization the drug culture in Nigeria is as a result of the failures of Nigeria as a state.
After this realization, unemployment, poverty and a poor educational system should be addressed. As a matter of fact, the state should wage wars against these three. Unless there is a vigorous attempt to do so, our war on drugs will be a lost cause.