Chapter 14: Nigeria’s drug laws and policy: implications for drug abuse prevention and control by Etannibi E. O. Alemika
There has been a growing involvement of Nigerians in the production, distribution, use and abuse of illicit drugs during the past four decades. This has led to the enactment of drug control laws by Nigeria’s successive governments. However, the drug control laws and policy have not produced the desired result of curbing the production, trafficking and abuse of dangerous drugs and substances. The ineffectiveness of the country’s drug laws and policy may be attributed to several factors. Drug policy and laws in Nigeria are formulated and implemented without the benefit of rigorous knowledge and research on (a) the motives and pressures for the production, distribution or sales of dangerous drugs and substances; (b) the motives and pressures for the use and abuse of cocaine, heroin, psychotropic drugs and alcohol; (c) multiple causes of drug abuse (d) epidemiology (extent, trend, pattern) of drug abuse and drug -related problems within population (e) relative efficiency of competing strategies-demand and supply reduction programmes (f) capacity for the effective enforcement of legal provisions (g) social and individual costs and harms associated with the misuse of different dangerous drugs and substances (h) the international political economy of drug trade and control which mirrors the unequal political and economic power relations between the “developed” and “developing” nations.
The nation‘s drug laws have not been effective, because of too much faith in legal repression as a strategy for deterring the production, distribution and abuse of drugs. Furthermore the capacity of existing institutions to secure effective enforcement of legal provisions is either overrated or not given due consideration in policy formulation and implementation. Nigeria’s drug laws and policy are influenced more by concern for the punishment of drug producers, distributors and abusers. The prevention of production, distribution and use of dangerous drugs and substances is neglected. For example, the prevention of drug abuse and treatment of drug dependent persons receive inadequate resources from government.