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Background to the Study

Since the dawn of the new millennium, the whole world has been exposed to various security challenges which have constituted serious threats to life and property as well as economic growth and development.[i]Presently, one of the main catalysts of the numerous security challenges facing Nigeria is the problem of hard drug abuse.  Drugs are useful but in spite of their usefulness and popularity, the misery currently created by the abuse of hard drugs and other substances is enormous and alarming. And unless a nationally co-ordinated solution to the problem is found, hard drug abuse will soon join poverty, malnutrition, diseases and insurgency as a very serious threat to the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

A study conducted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in 2008 in Kano revealed that between 2005 and 2008, more than half of the people arrested for violent crimes tested positive to the use of hard drugs at the time of their arrest.[ii]Also, in this same study, it was discovered that about 25% of people arrested for hard drug related offences are minors and young persons.[iii]The above statistics indicate a relationship between the use of hard drugs and the perpetration of crime and other anti-social activities in Kano and indeed all parts of Nigeria with implication for security.

What this means is that hard drug ab  use is a predisposing factor to the commission of many criminal offences such as murder, armed robbery, arson, rape, cultism, kidnapping and acts of terrorism in the country.[iv] While the use of hard drugs and other substances may not necessarily cause insecurity, it makes them (hard drug users) violent and destructive.[v]Recently, the Borno State Governor, Kassim Shettima rightly observed that members of the BokoHaram sect were acting under the influence of hard drugs.6This can be gleaned from the fact that hard drugs have been recovered from Boko Haram hideouts.7

Kano in Historical Perspectives

Nigeria is situated in the West African sub-region with an estimated population of about 186,053,000 million people. It has a land mass of 923,768 square kilometers and about 800 kilometers of coastline.Nigeria is made up of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory which has the status of a state and about 250 ethnic groups with  different local dialects. In Nigeria, English is the official language.Nigeria is divided into 6 Geo-political zones namely, the Northwest, North-East, North-Central, South-West, South-East, and South-South .The North-West comprises the following states: Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Jigawa. Incidentally, Kano State falls within the Northwest Geo-political zone which is the focal point in this study.

Map 1:Shows the map of Nigeria indicating the North-West Geo-Political Zone in Yellow color.


Map 2: Showing map of Nigeria indicating  Kano State in red color.


Map 3: Showing the map of the entire Kano State.


This State is  very large and diverse  in Nigeria.Kano State is located in North Western Nigeria.Created on May 27,1967 from part of theNorthern Region,Kano state borders Katsina State to the north-west,Jigawa State to the north –east,and Bauchi and Kaduna States to the South.The capital of Kano State is Kano.Kano State is the second largest indystrial center in Nigeria and the largest in Northern Nigeria with textile,tanning,footwear,cosmestics,plastics,enamelware,pharmaceuticals,ceramics,furniture and other industries.Others include agriculture implements,soft drinks,food and beverages,diary products,vegetable oil,animal feeds etc.

Kano State lies between latitude 130N in the North and 110N in the South and longitude 80W in the West and 100E in the East.Kano State is made up of 44 local government areas.The total land area of Kano State is 20,760sq kilometres with a population of over 9 million(2006 provisional result).

The vegetation of Kano State is the semi-arid savannah.The Sudan Savannah is sandwiched by the Sahel Savannah in the north and the Guinea Svannah in the south.The savannah climate of Kano is suitable for both cereal agriculture and livestock rearing, and the environment is relatively easy for movement of natural resources and manufactured goods.The temperature of Kano usually ranges between a maximum of 330c and a minimum of 15.80c.Kano has two seasonal periods,which consist of four to five months of wet season and a long dry season lasting from October to April.

The State is mainly made up of the Hausas, Fulani and some other minority tribes within the State like the Maguzawa, Yoruba, Ibo, Ebira, and a whole lot of other tribes from across Nigeria reside in Kano .So this is a diverse and vast State in Nigeria. Equally diverse are the socio-economic activities of the various people that reside in this state. Presently within this State, many Nigerian non-Muslim ethnic groups and foreigners like Senegalese, Togolese, Nigeriens, and Lebanese etc. can be found engaged in different economic pursuits with seriousness and vigor. For instance, Igbo men are popular in this zone for the sale of vehicle spare parts, Yoruba’s are known for expertise as motor mechanics and other skilled jobs.

Most of the people in Kano State are located in the rural areas,many of them are into agricultural activities such as farming and animal husbandry.In fact, huge number of the state population performs jobs that are agricultural in nature.Cowpeas,maize,millet,rice and sorgum are the primary food crops that are dominantly cultivated in Kano.On the other hand, cotton and groundnuts are Kano’s primary agricultural crops for industrial utilization and exportation.Other products that are grown and exported by the state are chilli pepper,cotton,garlic,gum Arabic and soya beans.While in the metropolis commercial activities in  the various markets that dot the state helps to dictate the economic pace of the state.

Statement of the Research Problem

A lot has been written about the relationship between insecurity in its entirety and hard drug abuse in Nigeria. But so far, the relationship between hard drug abuse and insecurity has not been investigated in Kano State.This means that there are gaps in our knowledge of the relationship between hard drug abuse and insecurity in Nigeria.This study seeks to fill some of these gaps by examining the reasons why hard drug abuse has become so prevalent in Kano and to also identify the connections between hard drug abuse and insecurity in Kano State of Nigeria

 The problem of insecurity has been further aggravated by the consumption of other illicit substances that induce the same effects as those of hard drugs. Apart from the fact that  hard drug abuse in general  is harmful to the human body,the use of hard drugs as, it has been discovered, facilitates criminal acts because most crimes such as armed robberies, arson, rape, kidnapping, cattle rustling and acts of terrorism, among others, are committed under the influence of hard drugs.8 It is this link between the abuse of hard drugs and violent crimes that is now a major challenge to security in Nigeria,  especially in Kano State of Nigeria.Therefore it becomes necessary to carry out a study on the abuse of hard drugs  and other euphoric substances in Kano State as an underlying threat to national security. It is the need to expose this problem that led to the conceptualization of this research topic.

This study seeks to remedy this inadequacy by focusing on hard drug abuse and its implications for security in the context of Kano State in Nigeria.This work is therefore an attempt to contribute to the knowledge of the history of Kano State of Nigeria with a detailed study of the period 1990-2010 and how this impacted on security.

Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study examines the impacts of hard drug abuse on national security in Nigeria using Kano State as a case study.   The   study adopts the following objectives:

1. To look at the issue of hard drugs in Kano before 1990,

2. To examine the various factors that leads to hard drug abuse in Kano state,

3.      To  identify the types of hard drugs abused from 1990-2010,

4.      To examine the impact of hard drug abuse in Kano on Nigerian national security.

Justification of the Study

The rampant cases of hard drug abuse as well as the abuse of other euphoric substances amongst the youths in Kano  and in Nigeria with its attendant negative impact on national security has become a matter of grave concern to parents ,families ,communities and the nation as a whole.No doubt the link between hard drugs  and substance  abuse and insecurity will provide  an interesting  dimension to scholarly works on hard drug abuse and national security.Between 1990-2010,the rate of hard drug addiction and trafficking withnessed a very sharp increase in Nigeria with Kano state coming tops in the number of those arrested for hard drug abuse.The need to unravel the factors behind the increasing rate of hard drug abuse by youths in Kano within this period under study is one of the main justifications behind this study.The findings from this study will help to  accomplish the following objectives,one,identifying the factors for hard drug abuse and two expouse the link between hard drugs  and crime and the urgent need to check this menance.

Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study covers the period 1990-2010. The year 1990 is important because before 1990, there was no specific Government Agency that was charged with the responsibility of checking the menace of hard drug abuse and trafficking in the country. Therefore, the establishment of the NDLEA in 1990 marked a turning point in the health history of Nigeria and an attempt to check the growing menace of hard drug abuse and trafficking by Nigerians which at this time was already becoming a major threat to national security in reference to hard drug abuse, while hard drug trafficking by Nigerians, had placed the nation in a bad light on the international arena.In addition by 1990, Nigeria also joined the list of countries that established a specific body for drug law enforcement.The terminal date, 2010 is relevant because that was the year the NDLEA marked its second decade of existence. Also, this date (i.e.2010) witnessed the highest numbers of arrests of hard drug suspects since the establishment of the NDLEA with Kano state producing the bulk of the arrested suspects. While on the international arena, the year 2010 was when Nigeria was permanently delisted from the drug major list.9This implied that Nigeria was no longer seen as a threat globally in relation to the issue of hard drugs having recognized her effort in combating this growing menace of harddrug abuse and trafficking by the NDLEA.The study has limited its scope only to Nigeria with emphasis on Kano State. The consumption of hard drugs as well as other unclassified but intoxicating substances has been shown to be very high and increasing at an alarming rate in this State.10

In the course of preparing this work, this writer faced a number of limitations but with determination and zeal to succeed, these limitations where overcome. The first limitation was difficulty in   getting access to documents considered as classified. The NDLEA is a security organization dealing with sensitive information and documents on individual, organizations, corporate bodies, politicians, top government officials and diplomats. However, this challenge was overcome due to the fact that a number of staffs of the Agency have worked tirelessly to provide all the necessary information or contacts required to make this study fruitful.

The second limitation was difficulty in   interviewing individuals who   were undergoing hard drug rehabilitation, hard drug suspects in custody and as well as well-meaning individuals and groups within the society. Interviewing these individuals under rehabilitation and hard drug suspects in custody was not an easy task. Apart from the fact that there was need to obtain clearance, the subjects to be interviewed mostly proved uncooperative.They sought to know why they were chosen to be interviewed; the purpose of collecting their bio-data and some were of the opinion that it was a ploy by the NDLEA to gather information that might be used against them. It became necessary to use every diplomatic means to convince them that this exercise was purely for academic research and would by no means hurt them. This long drawn out process and appeal to them patiently yielded positive results. These individuals are the main crux of the series of outlined interviews. They are the victims of drug abuse thus, providing first-hand information and clear insight into the world of a hard   drug addict.

Yet another major challenge encountered in the course of the study was how to interview groups or individuals who are considered to be drug users and in most cases, irrational in their thinking and behavior and thus very dangerous to mingle with. These people are not under any incarceration, rehabilitation or arrest but are just roaming the streets from one drug joint to another wild and dangerous. Some of these groups are known to belong to criminal gangs like the yan-daba, some are motor park touts, and some are hard drug addicts and dealers while some are prostitutes hooked on drugs. Suprisingly,some of thesehard drug addictsa are students,bankers,artisans and even law enforcement agents.The need to get close and personal with them so as to tap into their wealth of information on either  hard drug using or  hard drug dealing without putting myself in harm’s way was a very delicate task to handle.

However, this aspect was handled through the use of paid informants who could move freely within the cycle of these groups. Thus, gradually with the informant always by my side, the researcher was able to learn the habits, code-words, slangs and other traits of these groups that later on created an atmosphere of belongingness. The end result was an acceptance of the motive of the researcher and thus, they remarkably gave up a whole lot of valuable information that has helped to propel this research forward.

Research Methodology

This researcher generated information from primary and secondary sources.For the primary sources the writer conducted individual and group interviews in the area and recorded the proceedings in electronic devices and in long hand in note books. Those interviewed included drug addicts both those undergoing counseling and those on the streets, hard drug dealers, security personnel, government officials, businessmen and religious leaders and so on. In most cases,the researcher had to visit some of these hard drug joints severally to be able to study and understand the habits,code words,slangs and mode of operations of these hard drug dealers and users alike.By so doing some level of familiarity was created which allowed for elicitations and interviews as the case may be.For secondary sources,this writer consulted books,journals,seminar papers among others.The findings of this study are presented in the descriptive and analytical approach.

Conceptual Clarifications

For the purpose of this study,there are some very important concepts to this study that  must be defined in other to make this study more enlightening.These concepts are:  drugs, hard drugs, abuse,Kano State, non-coventional substances,narco-terrorism,national security and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (here after known as N.D.L.E.A.).


When making reference to the term drugs, the first notion that comes to mind in this regards is that it refers to medicines that are usually prescribed by doctors and medical personnel when we go to hospitals or when we are sick.11Drugs means more than how it is referred to above. It can be said   to be any substances apart from food

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