The weed wars have reached
West Africa. According to reports from the Vanguard (Lagos), drug
warriors from Nigeria's National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) shot
it out with pot farmers in the Ugbogie woods in Edo state on May 10.
In a quaint throwback to the country's legacy as a British colony, newspapers
there still refer to marijuana as "Indian hemp," the name British colonial
administrators used to describe cannabis when they ran across it in India.
After a "fierce shootout"
in which no one was hurt or killed, NDLEA narcs arrested three farmers
and seized two guns, 15 bullets, a battle axe, a motorcycle, and about
300 pounds of Nigerian weed.
"The suspects and their gang
are notorious Indian hemp farmers in Ugbogie forest who use their arms
to guard their farms and their farm produce," NDLEA local commander Harriman
Manuwa told the Vanguard. "Information also has it that they kill
people who get close to the area where they farm their Indian hemp, believing
that they must be spies and also rob timber merchants that go into the
forest for their legitimate timber business," he said.
"Those engaged in the nefarious
activity of illicit trafficking in drugs in the state need to retrace their
steps, otherwise they run the risk of being vigorously pursued until they
are apprehended and dealt with according to the due process of law," Manuwa
The Ugbogie bust was not
unusual. According to the US State Department's annual report on
drugs, "Cannabis is the only illicit drug produced in large quantities
in Nigeria. The drug is cultivated in all 36 Nigerian states, and
the crop is therefore large." The crop is consumed domestically and
exported throughout West Africa and into Europe. And the NDLAE makes
frequent raids. Last year, the narcs seized more than 300 metric
tons of the weed, but always with the risk of confrontations with growers.
As the State Department noted, "For many farmers cultivating cannabis,
cannabis represents their sole source of income. The potential for
emotional, even armed resistance to eradication campaigns exists.
It is therefore difficult for the government to plan and execute eradication
and interdiction efforts."
-- END --
Issue #288, 5/23/03
Editorial: Outrage at Outrages | No Marijuana Possession Law in Ontario, Court Rules -- Cops Vow to Keep Arresting Users Anyway | Hip Hop Nation Set to Rock the Rockefeller Laws -- Mass Protest Set for June 4 if Laws Not Repealed | GOP Effort to Let Drug Czar Propagandize Against Reform Stalled in House Committee | Drug Testing Has No Impact on Student Drug Use, Study Finds | Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users -- International Day of Action, June 12 | CNN Special Report on "Killing Pablo" | Newsbrief: Rosenthal Loses Motion for New Trial, Sentencing Date Looms | Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana -- Yes in Maryland, No in Connecticut | Newsbrief: "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act" Reintroduced | Newsbrief: "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Student Loan" Bill Introduced in Wisconsin | Newsbrief: House Committee Takes Slap at Needle Exchange | Newsbrief: Garcia Marquez Says Legalize Drugs to End Colombian Violence | Newsbrief: Scotland Yard Chief Says Legalize It | Newsbrief: British Government to Issue Guidelines for Heroin Prescriptions, Pilot Programs Coming Soon | Newsbrief: Australian State to Do Medical Marijuana Trials | Newsbrief: "Indian Hemp" Farmers Shoot It Out With Nigerian Narcs | Media Scan: Cockburn on Rosenthal, Forbes on Buying Initiatives, CNN on Bad Drug Raid | The Reformer's Calendar
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