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Why do young Adults start Selling Drugs in Nigeria?

Why do young Adults start Selling Drugs in Nigeria?

Why do young Adults and Teenagers start Selling Drugs in Nigeria?

            Nigeria is one of the biggest countries in Africa where drug abuse has long been considered a major issue for the society.  Throughout the years there have been many people trying to find answers to why Nigeria has the largest rate of young teenagers abusing drugs in Africa. For example the articles “Drug use Rise in Nigeria” by John Works, “Drugs and Poverty Blight Northern Nigeria” by Ashlogen Ogene and “The Nigerian Government is a Greater Threat to its People than Boko Haram” by Udoka Okafor. These articles give great explanations to why the drug abuse in Nigeria has increased so much.  The book Graceland by Chris Abani gives a great example of young adults starting to sell drugs in Nigeria. The reasons why the young adults are selling drugs is because of the lack of jobs, education, poverty and issues with the government. This blog will focus on trues facts and a fictional story to why Nigeria is going through so many issues with young adults selling and abusing drugs.    To begin with, Kano (one of the largest cities in Nigeria) is a big city where drug trafficking and drug abuse are becoming one of the main concerns for the Nigerian society.  According to the journalist John Works (2014) the rise of drug trafficking has become a huge issue for the Nigerian Society.  In the article, “Drug use Rise in Nigeria,” he states, “Kano has the country’s highest drug abuse rate based on the number of seizures, arrests of addicts and convictions of arrested dealers, according to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)”(Works 2014).  This shows how Nigeria does not have a well organized society, and unfortunately so many people are getting arrested  because of the drug trafficking. Works continues by explaining these reasons, “Hundreds of factories in Kano have closed in the past two decades because of power supply problems and competition from cheaper Asian goods, putting many out of work and leaving them unable to provide for their families”(Works 2014).  Therefore, if the factories do not have people working for them, how will the country grow if the people do not have opportunities to make money and provide for themselves? and how will they find greater jobs to not have to sell and abuse drugs?

    In addition, another reason why children and especially young teenagers start selling and abusing drugs in Nigeria is because the country is extremely poor.  According to Chris Abani (2004), the author of the novel Graceland (a story that focuses on a young man trying to find ways to have a better life in Nigeria). The novel focuses on a young man named Elvis who is going through some internal conflicts because he starts to sell drugs.  For him, that was the only way to make money and provide for himself. A friend of his named Redemption was the one who got him into selling drugs.  However, Abani writes the novel in a way that the main character feels uncomfortable to start selling the drugs because he does not want to be considered a criminal. On the other hand, his friend Redemption tries to open his mind to reality and gives an example of how unfair it is to live in Nigeria, “In dis country you can go to prison if some soldier does not like you. At least with dis you can make some money” (Abani 2004). This statement helps Elvis understand how corrupt it is to live in Nigeria, and unfortunately when a country does not grow to help the people, even the young adults will start selling those drugs to make money.  Moreover, when they started to sell drugs, Abani continues by explaining their routine, “They worked all night long, and by the time the city was waking up they had finished the last of the powder in the bowl.  In a small black leather bag were the tied packets.  By Elvis’s count there were at least five hundred. He had not worked as fast as Redemption and had made only about one hundred and fifty of them”(Abani 2004).  This story gives a great example of how life is for many young adults who are fighting to make a living in their country.  They see themselves selling drugs because they need to make their money.

    Moreover, Nigeria is a country that has suffered a lot of corruption within the government, which supports the reason why the country is poor and the people do not have opportunities of a better life.  According to Udoka Okafor (2012) (journalist) Nigeria is going through major issues because the people do not have enough money to survive, “Poverty in Nigeria is rising with almost 100 million people living on less than one dollar a day. Despite strong growth in Africa’s second largest economy”(Okafor 2014). Nigeria is extremely poor because the government is extremely corrupt, the people are trying to find ways to survive, which gives reasons for the young adults to start selling drugs.  They find drug trafficking a better way to make money even though it is not the best way to live a life.  If the government provided great opportunities for the people, the country would grow.  The journalist Udoka Okafor is from Nigeria and she gives a better explanation of how it feels to live in such a poor country where the government does not provide for their people:


                                Corruption is a disease that has infiltrated the fabric of my country, Nigeria. 

                                Corruption exists, not simply at the human level, but at an institutional level

                                as well. Our political climate and sociocultural narrative is fundamentally shaped by 

                                corruption. Corruption manifests itself in different ways, both on a micro and macro

                                level.  Policemen collecting bribes is just one of these manifestations of corruption

                                in Nigeria. Bad roads, intermittent to nonexistent power supply, ill-maintained 

                                infrastructures, politically sponsored ethnic violence and many other issues.


    This statement by Udoka Okafor is a meltdown of emotions.  She represents the anger, exasperation, and displeasure of the many people living in Nigeria who understands how it feels to live in a country where the government is extremely corrupt.  The government is so corrupt and that is one of the reasons why there are so many young adults selling and abusing drugs in Nigeria.

    Above all, the lack of jobs, and poverty  are the main reasons why people, and especially young teenagers start abusing drugs.  Unfortunately they do not get the support they need.  According to Ashlonye Ogene (2013) the author of  “Drugs and Poverty Blight Northern Nigeria,” he states why the  young man named Abdullahi started to abuse drugs,  He told Al Jazeera, "I have been smoking cannabis for 6 years. When I took it, I used to feel free. Some of us were selling petroleum to try and make some money but the police would stop us. We are the sons of poor people here. Our parents don't have enough money to pay for us to go to school. There are drug sellers everywhere in the city.  Old guys, young boys. They are all using it because there is nothing to do here. So we thought it must be good. That is why we started” (Ogene 2013).  This article proves why the way Nigerians live their lives affects the young people so much.  When parents do not have jobs they will not be able to help their children financially, so therefore so many young adults start selling drugs because the country is so poor.  Their parents do not have opportunities to find good jobs so the children find ways to provide for themselves.  

      In conclusion, like most countries, Nigeria is a country full of people who are searching for hope.  They are trying to find ways to survive and unfortunately even the young teenagers are starting to sell and abuse drugs.  There needs to be a new government where they do not steal so much money from the people.  They do not provide greater companies, factories, and education for their people to find better jobs and live a fair life. Unfortunately the people do not have the money to provide for themselves.  The corruption plays a big role to why there are so many young adults selling and abusing drugs in Nigeria.  There needs to be a better government to provide better jobs so the people will eventually have a better life.



Works Cited 


Abani, Chris. "Eleven." Graceland. New York: Picador. 2004. 107-108. Print

Ogene, Ashlogen. "Drugs and Poverty Blight Northern Nigeria." Aljazerra News article life in Nigeria. (2013). Print. 

Works, John. "Drug Use on The Rise in Nigeria." Breaking News. First News24. New York: Works, (2014). Print.

Okafor, Udoka. “The Nigerian Government is a Greater Threat to its People than Boko Haram.” Social Critics: Okafor. Canada. (2014). Print. 



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