Saturday, 23 December 2017 18:44

We Support Emir Sanusi II's Call For Drug Testing of Nigerian's Religious and Political Leaders

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It is gratifying that someone finally makes a mighty sense with the recommendation that Nigerian leaders should be tested for drug  use and abuse.  We commend Emir Sanusi  II  of Kano for boldly coming out and taking the lead  in war against drug use in Nigeria. Emir Sanusi II  makes  the recommendation and  offers to undergo the drug test himself. He says he would give up his position if any illegal drugs are found in his body.

What an upright man! When a man thinks of his fellow man’s health and well-being of his country, that man needs to be commended. Concern for your fellow man and those running your country is an act of love and caring. That love and caring should be emulated by men and women of goodwill everywhere. Sanusi’s attitude cannot and should not go unnoticed. A man with such attitude deserves a massive pat on the back.  That said, It is our duty  as citizens to praise good behavior and condemn the bad ones.

There is hope that the Emir Sanusi’s concern can be addressed and taken care of with the assistance of the Nigerian Government, religious leaders, teachers, and the ordinary citizens. Let’s keep hope alive. First of all, first thing first!

Let all of us Nigerians do one thing, and that is, STOP pointing hypocritical fingers at one another. We are all at fault for failing our nation. We ought to cease mouthing dishonest religious sermons when we and  our adults and children are dying from bad habits. The bad habit is “chopping” drugs as we do foo-foo and dying as victims who have no sense. Hey, Nigerians, let’s not be prisoners in the house of of drugs. Let’s be free us from bad learned habits that include the use of alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, and prescription pills. We were not born drug users. We picked up the diseased habit  due to greed.

Let’s admit we have some serious mental health problems that need to be addressed in Nigeria. Because Nigerians have long been suffering poor mental health , some of which are not unconnected with drugs use, we posted two essays on the subject. The latest essay is Nigerians Needn’t Suffer Mental Health Problems When Help is Available.

The purpose of the present essay is to commend Emir Sanusi II and suggest  ways we can implement the Emir’s recommendation. We cannot allow our country to be lost, meaning that Nigeria oughtn’t  be engulfed, swallowed up, and finished an unseen enemy.  The unseen enemy is drug addiction. Nigeria is a citadel of dangerous drugs, dealers, sellers, users and abusers. A citadel is a fortress, stronghold, bastion, castle, refuse, or sanctuary.  Drug use is affecting us badly in more than one way. We cannot handle democracy well; we are mismanaging our resources, impoverishing our people, and we are destroying our minds and bodies in the process.   Here are the naked facts:

  1. More people die in Nigeria each year from drug use, drug overdose and self-administered bad drugs than those who perish from malaria.
  2. More Nigerians are executed or locked up in prisons around the world for drug-related  activities than for illegal immigration and other reasons
  3. One of the reasons the Nigerian Airways was prohibited from flying to American, Canadian and European countries was the discovery that Nigerian pilots and passengers were using the aircraft as a vehicle to trade on illegal drugs with unabashed impunity.
  4. Thousands of security personnel  are employed at airports worldwide and security is being beefed up solely for the purpose of catching and imprisoning Nigerian  drug traffickers, including  those who swallow bags of cocaine and die when the bags burst in the stomach, and women  who carry dead infants abroad whose bellies are filled with drugs and sown up.
  5. The use of drugs seems to feature in hundreds of armed robberies and kidnappings that make daily headlines in our country’s newspapers.
  6. Make no mistake about this: beer, wine, kaikai, kola nuts and cigarettes are all considered dangerous drugs rather than just harmless recreational substances, but  few Nigerians are unaware of the fact.
  7. Numerous Nigerian governors and religious leaders (Christian and Muslim) are virtual alcoholics and drug addicts who  believe it is okay to saturate their states with more breweries and manufacture  of illicit drugs than building legitimate factories to generate employment-for the youth. Breweries seem to keep citizens dazed, confused, and unable to participate fully in the democratic process let alone understand the activities of their leaders. 

One point we cannot overlook is that Nigerian men and women are given to excessive drug use. Drugs seem to provide the only means of recreation and relief from stress caused by bad governance and lack of amenities in an environment as inhospitable as Nigeria.  At one time, and it continues to be the case, prisons in America,  Canada, and Europe were filled with tens of thousands of Nigerians convicted of drug trafficking. The execution of Nigerian drug traffickers in Asian countries (such as Singapore, Indonesia for examples)  continues and has gotten to the point where stories of Nigerians being executed outside their home are becoming old news not worth listening to. What’s new?

What is new is that Nigeria must tackle its drug problems energetically before the problems tackle Nigeria. Friends who used to proudly fly the Nigerian Airways are lamenting that some of the reasons the Nigerian Airways was banned from operation in many countries were  (1) Nigerians’ scandalous habit of fighting each other over drugs and (2) the Nigerians’ penchant for drug use, abuse, and criminal behavior leading  to the national embarrassment  of using our commercial aircraft to carry drugs overseas.   A penchant is a liking, proclivity, fondness, desire, partiality, weakness, taste, predilection, or liking to fight for everything that looks or feels like money. We need to save face and clean our country. The use of drugs is killing us.

This writer has lost several dear colleagues to drugs and does not wish to lose more. Alcohol is a drug as deadly as cocaine. Drugs are more dangerous than the herdsmen’s AK-47’s because while a gun kills an individual at a time, the drug destroys the entire community.  Lord, do not let this writer lose more friends, like I lost my bright friend, a namesake,  brilliant mathematician,  from near Jos;  Joseph  the professor of biology ied of alcohol delirium.

Dr. S.K. a business professor was stabbed to death by a student he was drinking alcohol with during a quarrel the two had over a girlfriend they both shared together. A few years ago, this writer attended the funeral of Special Education professor whose death was caused by a head-on collision with a drunken motorist who survived the accident after killing my friend.

There is a strong suspicion that some of the Igbo, Yoruba, Efik, and Tiv governors, if not all, are struggling with serious alcohol problems.  The suspicion is strong because many of my Nigerian friends in North America from these States, including professors and business owners, are predisposed to drug abuse; some are recovering alcoholics, some  have lost their wives and jobs as a result of drug use while many are in treatment.

Many Nigerian husbands are being ordered by courts to attend anger management classes for beating wives in moments of drunkenness.  Friends have had to snatch alcohol bottles and glasses of liquor from friends  at parties because they did not want friends  killed driving home  from parties at 5:oo am. Nigerians  don’t know how to drink, when to stop, and how much to consume. Believe it or not, drug use is a disease.  The victim needs treatment or rehabilitation rather than punishment.

This writer once shocked  friends at a wedding party at Abuja when he refused offer of a bottle of expensive imported liquor because he does not drink.  It was like “What, James? You don’t drink? What?” It was a shocking surprise to friends,  wedding guests,  who were retiring Generals,  ambassadors, navy commanders. There are many people who are teetotalers, non-drinkers of alcohol.  Why were friends shocked? Nigerians can stop drinking and using drugs, It is not a must that one should drink and use drugs. Drugs can be destructive of both mind and body,

One young 25-year-old Igbo Nigerian came to America with a pitiful story that he was an orphan. He asked for help to survive. We leased a Ford truck furnished with refrigerator and music for the purpose of selling ice cream during the summer, to him. He took the truck and disappeared for months without paying the minimum monthly fees. He wrecked the truck and went to court, pretending to be the truck's owner, to claim damages after suing the other driver for the accident.

After we caught him and took the truck back, he bought a small car with which he was selling drugs in an unfamiliar community. Neighbors called police. Arresting police officers found a loaded gun the 25-year-old was carrying to protect himself in the neighborhood, on the front seat. Case went to court. Judge sentenced the young Nigerian to 20 years in prison for drug possessing with the intent to distribute. I tell this story to illustrate some of the evils of drugs

The Nigerian Government needs to help the nation to quit use of drug among its top current and retired officers or at least to curtail the habit, to limit it. We can reduce the amount of money spent on accidental deaths, and needless loss of lives, which leave children without parents. We ought to do this as an act of love and caring for our nation. We propose  Eight-Step Plan of Action in order to make Emir Sanusi’s recommendation a realizable dream:

STEP ONE: Let’s admit we have a drug problem without feeling shame or funny.  Shame is useless. We do not  and cannot feel  shame or funny when we have venereal  disease, and don’t we go to the doctor or pharmacist for treatment ?  We cannot be ashamed of having drug problems when addiction is a disease needing treatment. If you drink beer or chew tobacco or kola nuts, you are on drugs. Don’t you know that tobacco and  kola nuts contain caffeine, a dangerous chemical  that is highly addictive at that? We maintain emphatically that all Nigerians are on some kind of addictive drugs and need to be set free.

We shall maintain confidentiality (doctor-patient privilege); there shall be no name-calling, no revealing of names , no revealing of private information of addicted persons should ever be made in the evaluation and treatment of our citizens who need to be free from addiction to drugs. Privacy and confidentiality are necessary to obtain full participation by our people

STEP TWO: All Nigerian offices including the Aso Rock, legislature, Ministries, schools, universities and colleges,  army and police offices and barracks should be declared  as No Zone drug-free environments  where no drugs should be tolerated .

STEP THREE  A national campaign against drugs should be mounted by churches and government to root out the cancer of drug use in all of Nigeria.

STEP FOUR: All politicians, including the President, governors, deputy governors, members of the senate and House at the federal and State levels, judges, lawyers, council members, and anyone remotely connected with governance, should be tested for drugs and they shall pass a drug test/examination before assuming offices .

The drug evaluation should be provided free of charge whenever there is reason to suspect the individual has a drug problem. 

Those who fail to pass the test should be required to continue employment while voluntarily undergoing treatment which they pay for out of pocket until the doctor certifies he/she is free from addiction.

Refusal to be tested and refusal to be treated should mean resignation from positions of trust with the government.

We shall give second chances to persons addicted to drugs rather than automatic or summary termination of employment because drug use is a disease that needs treatment rather termination. We do not fire or dismiss an employee for having malaria or high blood pressure, do we?

STEP FIVE: Let’s say No to any foreign country that wants to use Nigeria and Nigerians as dumping grounds and consumers, respectively, of the foreign land’s bad and expired  drugs. We shall say No to any country that wants to kill us. We have heard that some greedy Nigerians have been taking bribes from foreign countries that seek to bury radioactive  substances in Nigerian soil. How many of our children have died from ingesting these radioactive materials in water, air, or food?

STEP SIX: Let’s budget adequate money to set up rehabilitation hospitals and treatment centers staffed with qualified personnel to treat citizens afflicted with addiction to illegal drugs.

STEP SEVEN: The University Departments of Rehabilitative Professions should be set up to train counselors and psychiatric nurses  in the management of mental illness and this should be done as a matter of urgency.

STEP EIGHT: All of our politicians, including governors, deputy governors, ministers, members of Senate and House should be required to provide official documents certifying they are drug free. Those who fail to do so within a reasonable length of time (6 months) should be required to do immediately or relinquish their positions.

Prepared by Dr. James C. Agazie;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ;


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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.