Several days ago, the BBC featured the shocking documentary below about the scale of Nigeria’s worsening drug addiction problem.
It was the result of a dangerous undercover investigation into the criminal underground that feeds codeine addiction in Africa’s most populous country.
Codeine is a legal substance used in the production of cough syrups. However, more and more young people in Nigeria, and across West Africa, are buying and using the syrups, not to soothe coughs, but to get “high”.
Abusive use of the drug can cause severe damage to the body’s organs, and often leads to psychological disorders, and in many cases, madness.
Within days of the documentary’s airing, the Nigerian government finally placed a ban on the importation and use of codeine, even though it had always known about the severity of the problem.
This remarkable feat has strengthened my conviction that Africa’s transformation will not come from the top; from its political class. This continent will only change by the vision and actions of fearless journalists, passionate activists, and ambitious entrepreneurs.
I would like to congratulate the lead journalists in this investigation, Ruona Meyer and Adejuwon Soyinka, for their fearless devotion to finding the truth and exposing the unscrupulous companies and criminals behind the codeine addiction pandemic.
Because of your actions, many people could be saved from the trap of addiction.
Africa’s human capital, especially its young people, represents the continent’s leverage, power, and future. And we must defend this advantage at all costs.
I also want to thank the BBC and other international media giants like CNN and AlJazeera who are giving young and passionate Africans a powerful platform to cause positive change on the continent.
Here’s the full documentary below.
Let’s go, Africa!
Video credit: BBC News Africa