Use and trafficking in cannabis (also called marijuana) is easily the most common hard drug offence in Nigerian urban and rural neighbourhoods. This fact received a strong validation in January 2019 with the release of the results of Nigeria’s first National Drug Survey jointly made by the Nigerian government, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), which put the number of drug users in the country at 14.3 million with cannabis users accounting for 10.6 million. In other words, 19 percent of the nation’s population used drugs in 2018, surpassing twice the global average of 5.6 per cent, while cannabis users accounted for over 73 per cent of the users.
Over the years, the rising crime rate, particularly violent crime, in Lagos has been a concern to both the authorities and residents. Abuse of cannabis has been fingered as an important culprit in this undesirable social situation. A resident of the city, Ben Oke, told this reporter that the situation is as bad as it can be. “I cannot help feeling insecure when I see these guys smoke Indian hemp (cannabis) unrestrictedly around the street because majority of them are the same miscreants that beat up innocent people and snatch their possession on the road, that rob people, that fight dangerously in the streets and motor parks. I don’t think there is a limit to what these drug users can do.”