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Bilateral ormultilateral cooperation is indispensable in combating drug abuse and trafficking effectively. Nigeria and United States are working cooperatively together to reduce the demand for illegal drug through prevention, education and public awareness, treatment, training and research. In addition, the two countries have accepted that they are transit and drug consumer countries, respectively. Based on this understanding, Nigeria and United States have proceeded with technical exchanges and cooperative projects in areas of control of illicit cultivation, drug treatment and demand reduction. This study assesses the cooperation between Nigeria and the United States against illicit drug trafficking from 1989 to 2012. The qualitative approach used in this thesis employed both primary and secondary data which were collected from National Drug Law Enforcement (NDLEA) Headquarters at Ikoyi, Lagos. The primary data utilisedwas obtained through in-depth interview with some staff members of the NDLEA and an official of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) while the secondary data,in form of publications and annual reports of the agency of documents and records, was collected from the management of the NDLEA. Further consultations were made with journals, books, and research papers or articles. The liberal theory of international,which gives a better explanationof the reasons behind the bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and United States, was employed as the framework of analysis in the study. The study finds that the bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and the United States has minimised the flow of drugs from Nigeria into the United States marked; however, despite the present efforts of NDLEA and collaborative strategy put in place by the two countries in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and abuse, the number of people involved in drug trafficking within Nigeria is still on the increase. This has exposed a weakness in the nature of the bilateral cooperation, thereby raising the need for the strategy to be enhanced by a greater coordination and efficiency in the United States interdiction efforts, not only around flow routes of illicit drugs into the United States, but also around and within Nigeria‟s borders, in order to check the entry, production and trafficking of illicit drugs. From the lessons learned from the Nigeria-United States cooperation against illicit drug trafficking, there are a few obvious conclusions:attacking the source of drugs, as desired by the United States government, has not completely defeated the enemy in the war on drugs. So long as the United States does not deal with the demand signals from within the United States market, it will render efforts at eradication, interdiction and enforcement moot. Also, a wholesome strategy must be developed to address the menace within Nigeria in order to ensure that the Nigerian society will cease to be a breeding ground for any illicit drug production and/or trafficking activities.




Illicit drug trafficking has proven to be one of the major problems that the global

community faces. The global problem of hard drugs has lately assumed an alarming proportion

with the expansion of traditional drug routes into areas hitherto thought to be immune to the

problems especially African countries, with Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Ghana leading the way

(UNODC, 2003; Central Intelligence Agency, undated). Because of this fact, the drug trade

became deeply rooted in the economic and social cultures of many nations, which makes it very

difficult to control. This is a legitimate concern because not only do hard drugs have inherent

destructive effects on people‟s physical and social health, but they also activate some subsequent

negative multiplier effects into the social, political and economic fabric of the country and the

world at large.

The nature and dynamism of the illicit drug trade has made international cooperation

necessary in order to deal with it. The reason is because activities relating to illicit drugs in a

country might be just a cause, an effect, or even a mere stage in the entire process of the global

illicit drug business. This brings to the fore the need to collectively lay hands on any and every

part of the world that is affected by the drug menace using the best available and adaptable

approach. An effective international framework of cooperation for tackling the drug menace

must therefore be one that is adaptable, all-inclusive in geographic scope and far reaching in its

coverage of the different processes, parties and stages in the entire illicit drug business.


Otherwise, the efforts to address the problem of drug trafficking will yield results that are less

than what is desirable.

The Central Intelligence Agency (undated) notes that Nigeria is not only a transit route

for heroin and cocaine headed for European, East Asian and North American markets, but also a

consumer of amphetamines, a safe zone for Nigerian traffickers operating worldwide, a major

money laundering centre replete with massive corruption and criminal activity, although there

are improvements in anti-money laundering controls that attracted a positive international

recognition from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The United States, on the other hand

is the world‟s biggest market for cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroine, marijuana,

depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens, in addition to being a money laundering centre

(UNODC, 2003; CIA, undated).

Nigeria, as a leading drug route in Africa, is concerned with the consequences of drug

menace, especially its linkages with other conventional and organized crimes such as money

laundering, corruption, terrorism, human trafficking, as well as health problem. Nigeria is not a

producer of cocaine or heroin, but her strategic geographical location coupled with her porous

borders have made her a transit point for the illicit trafficking of drugs from the source countries

like Pakistan, Thailand, Columbia, and India, among others (UNODC, 2017; UNODC, 2003).

The only internally controlled drug produced in Nigeria is Cannabis sativa, popularly

known as Indian hemp, which has spread widely due to the favorable climatic and social

conditions of the country. More so, the cultivators believe that profit derived from cultivating

cannabis is much higher than what is earned from the cultivation and sale of other legitimate

cash crops (NDLEA, 2010; UNODC, 2003). Nigerian illicit drug smuggling remains a serious


threat to both Nigeria and United States. In order to confront this common threat, Nigeria and

United States have taken numerous steps to cooperate in the interdiction of cross-border drug

trafficking since 1989. Together they have made some outstanding achievements in minimizing

the inflow of drug into the United States and eradication of Indian hemp cultivation in Nigeria.

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