By G9ija

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), yesterday released a global report on Cocaine 2023 said that the Nigerian market is identified as the primary hub for cocaine trafficking in Africa.

The report highlights a significant increase in the supply and demand of cocaine in the region.

The UN agency further revealed that Nigerian traffickers frequently engage in joint operations with their compatriots in other nations, particularly with members of “cult groups” in European destinations and those operating in Brazil.

The report reads in part: “Based on aggregate reporting to UNODC, by Nigeria and other countries, on the main cocaine trafficking routes during 2018-2021, trafficking of cocaine was reported from Nigeria to 20 countries or territories, including countries within the subregion (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia), transit countries in Africa (Algeria, Ethiopia, Morocco), and countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, China, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka), in the Near and Middle East/ South-West Asia (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and in Europe (Turkiye, United Kingdom).

“Cocaine arrives in Nigeria via a variety of channels including bulk carrier vessels arriving at seaports such as Apapa, Tincan Island, and Onne: passenger flights into airports such as those of Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, and Kano: across land borders at various locations, including Seme (on the border with Benin) and llela (on the border with Niger); and via parcels delivered by courier companies or postal services.

“The most prominent departure country for cocaine reaching Nigeria is Brazil. Thus, despite the established and
well-connected presence of Nigerian traffickers within an international network of actors and counterparts trafficking cocaine (and other drugs), notably with regard to trafficking by air, in view of the available seizure data, it is plausible that the volume of cocaine transiting Nigerian territory is a relatively modest share of the quantities reaching West and Central Africa.

It should, however, be borne in mind that Nigerian traffickers are also active in neighbouring countries as well as North Africa.”

Morocco is second to Nigeria in the African drug trafficking market.

Nonetheless, Ghada Waly, the executive director of UNODC, cautioned that the cocaine market in Africa has the potential to grow and pose a dangerous threat. She urged governments to carefully scrutinize the report’s results and formulate solutions to address the risks.

Additionally, Section 19 of the NDLEA Act prescribes punishment ranging from 15 to 25 years’ imprisonment for culprit of drug trafficking.