Officials in the West African country of Nigeria discussed their thoughts regarding opposing cannabis legalization on Monday.
Abdullahi Ganduje, the governor of Kano State that’s located in the northern region of Nigeria, and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Chairman and retired Brigadier General Buba Marwa, spoke about their disapproval of cannabis legalization. Marwa and other officials were in Kano on an “advocacy visit” for the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) effort.
During the discussion, Chairman Marwa stated that the NDLEA has already made significant headway in reducing illegal drug possession across the country.
“With over 8, 634 arrests; 2,776,000 kilogrammes of drugs worth over N100 billion seized; 1,630 convictions; 3,232 cases in court, and over 4,000 drug users counselled and rehabilitated between January and now, we are already making substantial progress in our drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts,” Marwa stated, according to NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi.
Marwa continued to share how he thinks that cannabis legalization would only set Nigeria back. “We are, however, convinced that the ongoing attempts by some of our elected officials to legalise cannabis, which is being abused by over 10.6 million Nigerians, will be a drawback for the achievements so far. This is why I want to implore your Excellency and Kano State not to support the attempt to legalise cannabis.”
In response, Kano Governor Ganduje assured Marwa that no political figures in Kano would support legalization. “Kano has the highest number of federal lawmakers in the National Assembly. I want to assure you that none of them will support any attempt to legalise cannabis. We will also grant your requests for land and accommodation for a zonal command in the state,” he said.
Opposition of Cannabis in Nigeria Has Roots
This isn’t the first time that Marwa has stated why he thinks cannabis shouldn’t be legalized. A Channels Television video shows Marwa speaking for 30 minutes about the topic in June, sharing facts about drugs and drug trafficking in the country. He states that it affects the rise of crime, destroys families, and the noteworthy headway that the NDLEA has made in preventing illegal drug trafficking this year so far.
Also in May, a press release was shared on the NDLEA NIGERIA Twitter account, with a headline stating that “Marwa warns against attempt to legalise cannabis. It’ll turn Nigeria to a nation of junkies.”
In the release, Marwa states that it’s a fact that substance abuse and crime are linked, and that historically the “use of drugs for perverted purposes” has been present in Nigeria for a longtime.
“So beyond speculations and armchair theories, there is ample evidence, from report statistics and from empirical data from the field, to conclude that the sue of illicit substances is a contributing factor to the worsening security situation in Nigeria. And I this is so, Nigeria should be the last country to consider a law to legalise marijuana in any shape or form,” he shared.
Kano is just one state out of 36 in the federal republic of Nigeria, which is home to approximately 150 million people, according to the Nigerian government website. The Guardian states that Nigeria is ranked as the eight highest consumer of cannabis in the world. The Nigerian state of Ondo is home to one of the largest cannabis farms in the country, which is also allegedly the second largest in the world.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has a much different opinion on cannabis compared to Marwa or Ganduje. “Tell Nigerians that in 2019, the global market was put at 52.8 billion Dollars and that the market forecast is an average 14.5 percent increase from the year 2020 to reach 103.9 billion dollars by 2024,” he said, according to the Nigerian Tribute.
Akeredolu continued, “We have one of the best cannabis in the world in Ondo State. We need to research more on it. We need to save our forests from further plundering by cannabis cultivators. Climate change phenomenon is a reality with devastating effect on our ecology or environment. This approach will reduce the availability of cannabis in the underworld market because cultivators would like to sell in a more financially rewarding market.”