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Updated on June 27, 2022 12:50 am
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Updated on June 27, 2022 12:50 am
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Updated on June 27, 2022 12:50 am

Drug Abuse and Political Thuggery among the Youth in Kano Metropolis: A Modern Civilization or Resource Mismanagement?

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Most  of  the  world’s  development  strategies  largely  depend  on  the  youth.  This  societal segment is believed to assist in producing sustained economy, social justice and stable democracy of a nation. It is therefore very important if the society could produce qualitative youth to make these a reality. The thrust of this research is to understand the relationship between drug abuse among the youth   and   political   thuggery   in   Kano   Metropolis   with   a   view   to   proffer   solutions   to   the problem.Youth  were  interviewed  from  some  selected  drug  abuse  joints  using  questionnaire.  Also, some drug abuse specialists were contacted to generate relevant information. Majority of the youth interviewed were at their tender ages of inducing their peers and involve in political thuggery that calls for rivalry, killings, injuries, opposition clashes etc.The data indicate that majority of the drug abusers are employed, although economic factors suchas profit maximization encourage drug abuse habit among them. Lack of higher educational qualifications is another factor that pushes the youth into  drug  abuse  and  subsequently  to  politically  related  crimes.  Similarly,  political  thuggery  is  a factor  responsible  for  drug  abuse  among  the  youth  in  the  study  area.The  study  concludes  that  in order   to   attain   a   virile   state   of   political   integration,   parents   should   monitor   their   children’s movements   and   the   company   they   keep;   marital   disputes   should   be   avoided   by   the   couples themselves;  leaders  should  stop  using the  youth in  achieving their  personal  political  interests; and

religious leaders should be more involved in the youth’s upbringing.

Key words: Drug Abuse, Political thuggery, Kano Metropolis, Youth, Resource management.


Youth are believed to be the most valuable asset for engendering any societal development.  They  are  the  engines  and  pillars  upon  which  every  human  society depends.  Human  history  indicated  how  the  youth  served  to  depend  and  develop

© Copyright 2014 the authors.                                                        144

their  various  societies,  which  always  promote  and  give  to  the  society  economic balance, political stability and social justice. Gessel (1956) in Radda (2005) refers to youth  as  the  young  people  whose  years  fall  between  10  and  16.  The  report  of  the Political  Bureau  (1997)  in  Abdullahi  (2003)  classified  youth  as  those  between  6-30 years.  This  latter  classification  conforms  to  the  formal  education  years,  tampering with which may endanger the youth’s life and subsequently the society at large. The vision 2010 report defined youth as persons aged between 12-30 years. On the other hand, Abdullahi (1982) in Abdullahi (2003) defined the youth as any person in the period  between  early  childhood  and  old  age.  These  few  classifications  show  the importance of youth to the survival and progress of their respective societies. This is because youth contribute much towards social, economic, and political developments and defence of their societies.


According  to  2006  population  census  figure,  Kano  State  is  placed  1st  among the  thirty  six  states  of  the  federation  having  over  9.3  million  people.  Out  of  this number,  2,163,225  of  the  people  live  in  the  Metropolis.  Youth  are  termed  “as  the active  category  from  which  so  much  is  expected  to  achieve  the  societal  goals  like economic prosperity, political stability and social justice. Drug abuse seems to be a major problem that affects their human creativity, mental capability and productive human  potentials.  Other  problems  linked  to  drug  abuse  and  dependence  includes reckless  driving,  traffic  violation,  inducing  fear  and  insecurity  to  the  public  etc. (Madden,  1984).  This  usage  reflects  the  blanket  meaning  of  drug  abuse  connoting medical or social patterns within a given socio- cultural environment (Garba, 2003). In their study, Abdullahi and Haruna (1992) in Abdullahi (2003) found out that, 77% of  the  respondents  that  abused  drugs  did  it  to  work  hard  and  become  materially successful   or   to   be   able   to   forget   their   problems.   Their   findings   indicate   the existence of drug abuse and related incidences in Kano Metropolis.

From  January  2003  –  November  2008,  NDLEA  record,  Kano  office,  shows that over 1528 youth were arrested by the Agency for drug abuse. Their ages ranged between  15-33  years.  On  the  same  vein,  the  record  of  Dawanau  psychiatric  clinic

indicated  that  from  January  –  November  2008,  over  9,799  mental  cases  were reported  to  the  hospital.  Out  of  this  figure,  6,365  (64.9  percent)  cases  were  youth from  Kano  Metropolis.  Over  5,103  (80  per  cent)  of  this  figure  were  drug  induced patients    (D.I.Ps.).       Subsequently,    4,791(93.9    per    cent)    were    males.    Direct involvement   of   the   youth   in   substance   abuse   and   political   thuggery   in   Kano Metropolis   is   what   proves   the   indolence   nature   and   hopeless   future   of   the community.   The   major   objective   of   this   paper   therefore,is   to   examine   the relationship  of  drug  abuse  among  the  youth  and  their  involvement  in  political thuggery in Kano Metropolis.

1.1: Some Drugs and their Effects:



Cocaine       Coke,   Snow,   Rock,   Coco, Crack,                    Speed,pee, Columbian gold

Opium         Brown sugar, Stuff, Smark,

Shit, etc

Sniffing,          Snorting, inhaling,

Injecting,       Ingesting, Swallowed

Hallucination,               Diarrhoea, Nausea,  Insomnia and Influenza

Strong  and  quick  cure  of  illness different from normality

Heroin         Thai white                                    Smoking,        Injecting, fumes absorption

Euphoria(false  feeling),  Physical and Psychological imbalance

Cannabis    Marijuana,        Pot,        Gra, Hashish,    Charas,    Indian hemp, Ganja, Ganye, Wiwi, Chaku, and Dope

Source: (NDLEA Report, 1998).

Wrapped   and   smoked (alone   or   in   tobacco’s mixture).  Also  chewed or  tea made

A         psychogenic         substance (producing     a     psychotic     state when  taken  in  a  high  dose,  false sensory   perceptions,   Delusions, Drowsiness or Coma.

Conceptual Explanations of Drug and Drug Abuse

Drug: Scientifically, drug is defined as a substance that affects the function of living cells used in medicine to diagnose, cure, or prevent the occurrence of diseases and disorders. Chafetz (1972) cited in Joseph (1980) defined drug as any substance, which chemically alters the structure or function of a living organism. Sociologically, drug  is  any  habit-forming  substance  that  directly  affects  the  brain  or  the  body function, like mood, perception or consciousness that has a potential for misuse and

may be harmful to the user or to society. Folawiyo (1998) sees drug in a social sense as any substance that carries negative connotation from the public for its power to influence body action different from the usual way of life.

The public in Kano Metropolis disregard those substances with this power of influencing  body  action,  for  they  (drugs)  destabilize  an  important  pillar  (youth) which in turn hinders progress. According to Abdullahi (2003), drug is mainly taken to  sedate,  excite,  slim,  arouse,  put  to  sleep  or  cure.  People  usually  ingest  or  inject those drugs into their bodies to achieve these goals. Radda (2005) referred to drugs as  psychoactive  substances  while  Watt  (1997)  refers  to  drug  as  a  substance  that affects  the  way  the  body  works  either  physically  or  mentally.  Purposely  for  this study, drug can be seen as any substance other than food, which due to its chemical nature affects the structure or functioning of a living organism.

Drug Abuse: Sullivan and Thompson (1994) refer to drug abuse as the continued use of   psychoactive   substances   at   a   level   that   violates   approved   social   practices. Typically,   use   of   a   substance   meets   social   disapproval   when   it   has   negative consequences for people’s health, endangers their relationships with other people or is  threatening  to  others  in  society.  Although,  people  believed  that,  the  substance with  these  consequences  can  produce  social  disapproval;  drugs  are  now  widely abused  especially  across  the  developed  world.  A  recent  survey  in  UK  of  1996 reported  in  Watt  (1997)  found  that  over  5  million  people  used  cannabis,  1  million amphetamines,  900,000  LSD  and  over  500,000  ecstasies1.    In  Kano  Metropolis, people   socially   disregard   the   abuse   of   drugs   for   it   threatens   people’s   social relationship and security as it relates to politics in the state.


Theonye (2004) defined drug abuse principally as the application of drugs for purposes other than of which they are produced. This meaning indicates clearly how drugs like Benylin, Codeine, Valium 5/10 and Roche that are meant to cure cough,

1   Ecstasies   arealso   known   as   E.   doves   and   MDMA-   A   Synthetic   drug   with   stimulant   and hallucinogenic effects which comes in tablet form.

put  to  sleep  or  common  headache  and  pain  are  used  excessively  to  produce  result different  from  the  stated.  This  practice  appears  to  be  a  common  social  problem amidst  youth  in  urban  setting  similar  to  that  of  Kano  Metropolis.  Lauer  (1992) refers   to   drug   abuse   as   the   improper   use   of   drugs   to   the   degree   that   the consequences  are  defined  as  detrimental  to  the  user  or  to  the  society  due  to behaviour that deviates from accepted norms.

Radda  (2005)  believed  that,  drug  abuse  is  the  excessive  and  persistent  use usually by self-administration, of any drug without due regard for accepted practice. The  vast  arrays  of  drugs  are  agents  that  act  on  the  central  nervous  system  to engender  significant  effects  on  mood,  social  feelings  and  behaviour.  Therefore,  the general  definition of drug abuse encompasses the  habitual  use  of  drugs by laymen like laxatives, pain relievers and vitamins.

Causes of Drug Abuse among the Youth

Many  factors  are  responsible  for  drug  abuse  in  the  world  today.  Researches were conducted to indicate how these factors influence drug abuse in the society. In a  study  conducted  in  Dawanau  rehabilitation  centre  by  Abdullahi  (1991b)  cited  in Abdullahi (2003), 77% of the respondents said they either abuse drug to work hard so that they can become materially successful or to forget about their problems. To confirm this further, it was indicated in another work by the same author in Kano Metropolis (2003) that a commercial motor cyclist stated:

If  I  take  Gadagi,  I  feel  strong  and  fearless,  I  find  it  much easier to manoeuvre any traffic congestion in order to quickly drop my passenger and be paid within a short time and wait for another passenger. . . (Abdullahi 2003:15)

Findings of Garba (2005) found that some people abuse different drugs for different reasons. These vary in terms of drug, person or occasion, although some people may have  more  than  one  reason  for  abuse.  These  reasons  include  curiosity  towards achieving a particular goal such as economic, political or otherwise. Also, search for pleasure, social pressure (which may come within or outside one’s social group such as family). One may even continue to abuse drugs for tension relief or escape. Other

factors that influence the abuse of drugs among the community youth include mass media    communication    that    encompasses    radio,    television,    magazines    and newspapers.

Additionally,  a  study  on  drug  abuse  by  Abdullahi  and  Haruna  (1991a)  in Abdullahi  (2003)  showed  that  inmates  at  Dawanau  Rehabilitation  Centre  Kano learned  the  habit  of  drug  abuse  from  friends,  workmates  and  other  associates.  In their  study  on  drug  abuse  among  students  of  universities  of  Nairobi,  Muliro  and Kisumu  Day  Secondary  School,  Ngesul,  Ndiku  and  Masese  (2008),  found  that  the interest and expectation of the peer groups have an important bearing on whether or not a person will try dependence producing drugs. A friend or peer group is likely to  be  the  source  of  iinformation  for  drug  users  about  the  availability  of  drugs  and their allegeable effects.

Some  of  the  reasons that  are  responsible for  drugs use  and  abuse  especially among  the  youth  include,  peer  influence,  search  for  pleasure,  curiosity  toward success in a modern competitive world, stress and anxiety, party politics and family disintegration   effects   (Odiase,   1980).   Other   socio-economic   factors   are   profit maximization by those who sell the drugs, rapid urbanization process, bribery and corruption, general indiscipline in the society, ineffective social control measures by the community members and authorities concerned, etc (Olatunde, 1979). Students take drugs to prevent themselves from sleeping in the night to read very hard and pass  examinations  with flying colours.  Trucks  and bus  drivers,  conductors,  tailors, cart- pushers, head -loaders (‘Yandako) etc. consume and become addicted to drugs to enable them work hard and become materially successful (Abdullahi, 2003).

In  his  comparative  study  of  the  political  economy  of  crime  in  United  States and       Nigeria,  Chambliss  in  Taylor,  Walton  and  Young  (1975)  revealed  that,  by

1967, Seattle and Las Vegas in United States and Ibadan and Lagos in Nigeria all had larger populations.   They also possess common social problems. Crimes such as prostitution, gambling, alcohol and drugs available for abuse gain ready markets in these cities. The findings also indicate that drug distribution which flourish in the lower-  class  centre  of  the  cities  continue  to  exist.  This  is  being  done  with  the

compliance,   encouragement   and   co-operation   of   the   major   political   and   law enforcement  officials  in  the  cities.  According  to  these  findings,  there  was  in  fact  a common symbiotic relationship between the law enforcement political organization of these four cities and a group of local (as distinct from national) men who control the  distribution  of  vices.  Hausas,  who  were  immigrants  in  Ibadan,  Nigeria,  were believed to have professional criminals.

The   Hausas’   leadership   is   strong   that   was   said   to   pay   much   to   police whenever their member is in difficulty. This shows how cordial a relationship being established  between  those  criminals  such  as  drug  addicts,  their  superiors  and  law enforcement agents as far back as 1967. More interestingly, the finding touched on Hausas   who   are   presently   the   predominant   tribe   in   Kano   Metropolis.   Hence, tendency of criminal- law custodian relationship can be put in place. Relating these findings with Kano Metropolis urban settings, youth who engage in drug abuse may have  a  direct  relationship  with  the  law  enforcement  agents.  Such  authorities  like the  Police,  NDLEA,  NAFDAC  and  DMA could  allow  the  problem  to  continue  in  as much as they benefit financially through collecting bribe from the drug abusers.

The  findings  of  Akindele  (1974)  and  Asuni  (1974)  showed  that  more  recent clinical observations indicated that approximately 70% of cases of toxic psychosis as a result of drug abuse are from wealthy homes. By way of evaluation, Borodo (2005) observed that, although globally varied factors are responsible for the prevalence of substance/drug   abuse,   peculiar   to   our   Nigerian   society   (Kano   Metropolis   in particular)  include;  reduced  community  participation,  less  family  and  parental cohesion and care, increasing number of unemployed youth with inadequate Islamic and  Western  education,  abundance  of  illicit  substances/drugs  in  the  society  due  to laxity  of  relevant  authorities  in  checking  their  circulations,  increasing  poverty  in the society, and so on.

Consequences of Drug Abuse

Garba (2005) believes that drugs affect all sectors of society in all countries. In particular, drug abuse affects the freedom and development of young people, the world’s most valuable asset. Joseph (1980) observed that, young people have tended

to use drugs more than adults and with increasing frequency. As youth deepen into drug abuse, their productive human potentials are threatened. This might spread to the general society producing wider social, cultural, political and economic damages. Borodo  (2005)  observed  that  consequences  of  drug  abuse  in  our  society  today particularly  in  Kano  Metropolis,  consist  of;  increasing  number  of  youth  becoming lunatics  in  the  streets  with  increasing  burden  on  government  as  well  as  increased cases  of  crimes  and  other  societal  ills.  Report  shows  that  over  82,000Kg  of  Indian hemp   was  impounded   by  the  agency  between  January  and   August   this  year, (NDLEA,  2008)..  Drug  abuse  serves  as  one  of  the  avenues  through  which  people manoeuvre their ways to achieve economic, educational and even political successes. Many  acts  of  violence,  physical  assaults,  rape  or  murder  are  generally  linked  to substance abuse.

Substance  abuse….  is  the  worst  of  plagues.  It  knows  no season and no boundaries. No mosquito will be identified, no microbe isolated, no vaccine invented to end its reign. It is a pestilence with all the classic trappings of social disruption, suffering  and  death-and  one  terrible  defining  difference,  we invite     it     to     kill,     and     maim     and     diminish     us ( 5thMay, 2007).

Rational Choice Theory

According to this approach, law-violating behaviour occurs when an offender decides to risk breaking the law after considering both personal factors (such as the need  for  money,  revenge,  thrills,  and  entertainment)  and  situational  factors  (how well a target is protected and the efficiency of the local police force). Before choosing to commit a crime, the reasoning criminal evaluates the risks of apprehension, the seriousness of expected punishment, the potential value of the criminal enterprise, and  his  or  her  immediate  need  for  criminal  gain.  Conversely,  the  decision  to  forgo crime may be based on the criminal’s perception that the economic benefits are no longer  there  or  that  the  risks  of  apprehension  is  too  great  (Bayer,  1981).  On  this basis,  drug  abusers  in  Kano  Metropolis  might  abuse  drugs  purposely  for  financial gain, to take revenge against a rival party or for a thrill. Engagement in drug abuse

is  decided  by  calculating  the  most  possible  outcome  of  the  action.  This  may  be  a benefit, escape and possible apprehension. It can be speculated therefore, youth are being  supplied  with  substances  and  weapons  to  commit  offences  in  favour  of  their political  masters  who  in  turn  stand  for  them  against  any  punishment  by  the  law. This theory is adopted to guide the study.


Study Population

This consists of all the youth who abuse drugs in Kano Metropolis that were available  during  the  study.  Their  age  category  ranges  between  12  and  44.  Kano Metropolis  comprises  of  Dala,  Municipal,  Nassarawa,  Gwale,  Tarauni,  and  Fagge Local Government Areas.

Sample Size and Sampling Procedure

This research sampled a total of 134 respondents. A pilot study revealed that, in  each  of  the  six  Local  Government  Areas,  at  least  40  drug  abuse  joints  were available,  making  a  total  of  240  drug  abuse  joints  in  the  whole  area  of  Kano Metropolis. On this basis, two (2) social settings were selected from each of the six (6)  Local  Government  Areas  using  purposive  sampling  procedure  .Then;  ten  (10) respondents from each of the selected social settings were drawn using accidental or availability  sampling  procedure.  Therefore,  12  drug  abuse  joints  were  sampled, using  which  120  respondents  were  obtained.  This  formed  the  first  part  of  the sample.  Other  relevant  sources  of  data  utilized  for  the  study,  include;  Dawanau psychiatric    hospital,        Dorayi    Rehabilitation    Center,    National    Drugs    Law Enforcement  Agency  (NDLEA),  National  Agency  for  Food,  Drugs,  Administration and  Control  (NAFDAC),  Drugs  Management  Agency  (DMA)  and  two  recognized Hospitals:  City  general  Hospital  (Murtala);  and  Nassarawa  Hospital.  In  each  of these seven (7) organizations, two (2) respondents were contacted making a total of fourteen  (14)  respondents.  This  formed  the  second  part  of  the  sample.  The  sample size of the study therefore is one hundred and thirty (134) respondents.

Data Collection

Questionnaire  was  used  to  generate  quantitative  data  from  the  drug  abuse selected    joints    using    research    assistants.    The    mode    of    administering    the questionnaire  is  researcher’s-administrative  approach.  The  questionnaire  schedule contained  both  closed  and  open-ended  questions  that  were  administered  on  youth that  abuse  the  drugs  and  engage  in  political  thuggery.  In-depth  interview  was adopted   in   generating   qualitative   data   from   the   government   officials   and professionals from relevant sources such as Dawanau Psychiatric Hospital, Murtala and Nassarawa Hospitals, NDLEA andDorayi Rehabilitation Center.


Age of the Respondents

The data indicates that respondents between 15 – 29 years are 71.6 percent of  the distribution.  Those  between 30-44 years  are 17.2 percent, while  those  below

14 years are 11.2 percent. This shows that majority of the youth that were involved in drug abuse in Kano metropolis are within the range of 15-29 years. It symbolizes the  presence  of  moral  decay  among  the  youth  on  whom  the  brighter  future  of  the society  depends.  Similarly,  the  youth’s  potentials  in  boosting  the  standards  and economic prosperity of the society are being defeated. That is why, it is vital and a challenging   issue   for   youth   to   be   handled   with   care   for   the   sake   of   societal development.

This finding differs from the survey finding of NDLEA (1991), which revealed that ‘‘…. Children begin to abuse drugs as early as 11-16 years….’’ But the finding is in harmony with what the same agency had in a compiled record of mental health institutions  of  Nigeria  in  the  same  year,  which  states  that  ‘‘….The  drug  abuse patients  almost  fall  within  the  age  bracket  of  21-30  years….”.  At  the  same  time, similar results were found by Odejide and Sanda (1976) and Anumonye (1980) who found that ‘‘….Young adults between 21 and 25 years of age and children of school age were all reported to have abused drugs ….’’.

Sex of the Respondents

The data shows that males constituted 90.5 per cent, while only 9.5 per cent females are found to be involved in drug abuse. This shows that more males abuse drugs  than  females.  It  is  not  surprising  considering  the  cultural  and  traditional inhibitions  that made  males more  mobile than females.  Another  reason is that, by their   nature,   males   engage   in   highly   dangerous   activities   than   their   female counterparts. This trend puts the societal future at risk as norms and values are not being   obeyed   by   the   male   population   who   are   supposed   to   be   providers   for households.  This  is  discouraging  because  if  able-bodied  men  do  not  respect  laws, quality  of  society  is  threatened.    In  accordance  with  the  above,  a  social  worker interviewed in Dorayi Rehabilitation Center mentioned:

As  you  can  see,  majority  of  the  inmates  here  are  males. They are also youth with drug related problems. We have a lot  like  them  roaming  everywhere  along  the  streets  of Kano Metropolis.

Marital Status of the Respondents

It  can  be  inferred  from  the  data  that  Single  respondents  are  81.0  per  cent while married respondents are 15.5 per cent. Divorced respondents are only 3.4 per cent. This proves that youth who are single with little family burdens are involved in  drug  abuse  than  others.  Single  respondents  are  also  termed  as  free  and  mobile elements.  Hence,  it  can  be  speculated  that  maintaining  a  family  can  improve morality   and   responsible   behaviour   in   individuals   (all   things   being   equal).To support   the   above   finding,   a   social   worker   in   Dorayi   Rehabilitation   Center


As    you    can    see,    majority    of    the    people    under rehabilitation   here   are   single,   dependent   and   less privilege.  We,  the  workers  take  care  of  them  with  no helping hands from their families if any.

Average Monthly Income of the Respondents

The data indicates that 29.3 percent respondents possess an average monthly income of N 4,999 and below. Only 27.6 percent respondents have between N5, 000- N 9,999 as their average monthly income. Another 22.4 percent   respondents have

their   average   monthly   income   ranging   between   N   10,000   –   N   14,999   and respondents  with  income  ranging  between  N  15,000–N  19,999  are  7.8percent.  The last  category  with  average  monthly  income  between  N  20,000  and  above  was  12.9 percent  of  the  distribution.  Looking  at  this  information,  it  is  indicated  that  youth with  lower  financial  earnings  engage  in  drug  abuse  more  than  those  with  higher

financial earnings in Kano Metropolis.

Educational Qualifications of the Respondents

The  data  reveals  that  Secondary  school  leavers  are  44.8  per  cent.  Primary school  leavers  among  the  respondents  are  31.0  percent.  Respondents  with  post- secondary qualification are 14.7 percent, while those who had Islamic education are

9.5  per  cent.  By  way  of  analysis,  those  youth  with  secondary  School  qualification abuse  drugs  more  than  others.  This  may  be  due  to  lack  of  higher  educational certificates  to  secure  better  jobs  leading  to  frustration  there-by  forcing  them  to deviate  by  engaging  in  drug  abuse.  In  relation  to  above,  a  male  social  worker  in Dorayi Rehabilitation Center stated:

During  rehabilitation,  we  realize  that  majority  of  these inmates  (who  are  mostly  D.I.Ps 2 )  are  less  privilege  in terms   of   modern   education.   Many   had   only   secondary school certificates possibly because they are less privileged, and  could  not  secure  higher  certificates  through  further studies.

The  findings  from  the  data  also  show  that  majority  of  the  respondents believed  that  Lack  of  higher  educational  qualifications  to  secure  jobs  is  the  major reason behind the continued drug abuse behaviour among the youth. The revelation indicates   that   the   reasons   given   by   the   respondents   are   many   but   the   most influential centres on education being a vital index of a nation’s development. Political Thuggery

The   result   shows   that   majority   of   the   respondents   represented   by   61.2 percent  of  the  distribution  are  involved  in  political  thuggery.  The  remaining  38.8

percent  respondents  are  not  involved.  This  indicates  that  as  political  activities

2D.I.Ps means drug induced psychosis (Those who are mentally affected as a result of drug abuse).

increase,  drugs  are  abused  by  the  youth  to  help  achieve  the  political  ambitions  of their masters. Respondents indicated that involvement of most youth in politics is a reason for their involvement in drug abuse in Kano Metropolis. In this connection, an NDLEA official interviewed revealed that:

Most  of  the  difficult  times  this  agency  faces  are times  of  political  activities,  where  and  when  drug abuse is publically rampant with no fear.

Corroborating  the  above,  another  NAFDAC  officer  on  the  frequent  involvement  of youth  in  drug  abuse  while  government  does  nothing  or  little  in  eradicating  this

problem said:

Infact,  most  of  these  culprits  (drug  abusers)  have the political elites as their god fathers, who in turn (political  elites)  disallow  a  proper  function  of  the law just for personal sentiment.

Both  agencies,  NDLEA  and  NAFDAC  seem  to  have  acknowledged  the  problem  of drug abuse among the Kano metropolitan youth especially during political activities. Similarly,  a  male  social  worker  in  Dorayi  Rehabilitation  center  when  interviewed


Society  experiences  a  lot  of  harm  and  difficulties as  a  result  of  involvement  of  youth  as  political thugs in politics. Unless and if this is tackled, the public   would   continue   to   suffer   these   negative consequences.  Of  course  this  is  so  detrimental  to our social, economic and political lives.

The above finding is in harmony with the finding of Odiase (1980) which indicates that  “Some  of  the  reasons  that  are  responsible  for  drugs  use  and  abuse  especially among the youth include, party politics….’’ Accordingly, political thuggery in Kano Metropolis influences drug abuse among the youth.

Abuse of Drugs by Respondents Mainly for Violence

The data from this study show that 62.1percent of the respondents does not abuse  drugs  to  perpetrate  violence.  Those  who  abuse  drugs  primarily  for  violence are  37.9  percent  respondents.    This  indicates  that  drugs  are  not  being  primarily abused  by  the  youth  in  Kano  Metropolis  for  violence.  Rather,  it  is  a  habitual

practice  that  changes  an  individuals’  attitude  from normal  to abnormal  due  to the influence  of  drugs  on  their  body  chemistry.  To  further  explain  the  forgone,  one  of the pharmacists interviewed mentioned that:

The only necessary conditions under which a drug is taken are;   when   the   body   system   possesses   a   problem,   when physiology  of  the  human  body  need  to  be  modified,  and when  a  medical  investigation  is  to  be  carried  out.  Without such  conditions,  the  drugs  intake  can  be  dangerous  and may lead abnormal behaviour in individuals.

Thus,   all   drugs   can   be   harmful   depending   on   the   manner   they   are   used.   A

psychiatrist in Dawanau Psychiatric Hospital when interviewed on the same issue stated:

It  is  possible  for  someone  to  live  without  a  drug  provided one      maintains      good      nutritional      intake,      hygienic environment   (free   from   disease   vectors)   safe   portable drinking water, exercise and general healthy life style.

From the above therefore, with or without violence, one can lead a drug-free life, all things being equal. But, the respondents also engage in political violence. Respondents’ Engagement in Political Violence

The Table above shows that 56.0 percent of the respondents do not engage in political violence. The remaining 44.0 percent of the respondents engage in political violence.   This  revelation  shows  that  at  least  a  considerable  minority  of  youth  are involved  in  political  violence  which  always  destabilizes  peace  and  harmony  within the  public.  During  the  last  November  2007  local  government  polls,  one  Medical Doctor in Murtala Mohammad Specialist Hospital when interviewed narrated:

Over  five  bodies  lied  dead  in  the  accident  and  emergency unit  of  the  Hospital,  with  some  three  about  to  pass  away. All were brought on the 17th  November 2007, the exact day of the election. They looked young and able-bodied.

It  can  be  inferred  then  that  drugs  abuse  among  the  youth  triggers-off  violence especially  during  elections  which  in  turn  engenders  loss  of  lives  and  properties threatening the future of Kano and Nigeria. Youth that engage in political violence do  so  with  the  backings  of  their  political  masters.  To  evaluate  this  much,  a  cross-

tabulation  is  generated  to  see  how  income  can  influence  involvement  in  political violence by the respondents.

Income and Political Violence

The Naira (N) is Nigeria’s currency (bank note) and one US Dollar (USD $1) equivalents  N  158.  In  the  cross-tabulation,  it  was   revealed  that  respondents  with an average income of N 4,999 and below per month are 44.1 percent who engaged in political violence and 55.9 percent respondents with similar income level never got engaged  in  political  violence.  Respondents  whose  income  fell  between  N  5,000  –  N

9,999  are  43.8  percent  and  they  engaged  in  political  violence  while  56.2  percent respondents  never  did.  Those  whose  income  fell  between  N  10,000  –  N  14,999  are

42.3  percent  and  are  engaged  in  political  violence,  while  57.7  percent  respondents were not. Respondents whose income ranged between N 15,000 – N 19,999 are 44.4 percent and they are engaged in political violence, while 55.6 percent did not. Lastly, respondents whose income started from N 20,000 – above are 46.7 percent and were engaged   in   political   violence   while   53.3   percent   respondents   were   not.   This indicates  that  as  the  income  earnings  of  individuals  (youth)  increase,  they  tend  to withdraw  from  engaging  in  political  violence.  Therefore  income  level  determines

one’s engagement in politically oriented conflicts indicating a negative relationship.

On the Respondents Benefits of Engaging in Political Violence

Since only 51 respondents engage in political violence, the data above shows that   50   percent   of   those   respondents   do   benefit   from   money   and   popularity. Respondents who derive monetary benefits by engaging in political violence are 25.9 percent.  The  remaining  24.1percent  of  the  respondents  gained  popularity  by  their involvement. This indicates that majority of those involved in political violence are popular and gain monetary benefits for their actions. This is attributable to money in  politics  with  all  the  consequences,  as  youth  are  hired  to  destroy,  injure  or  even kill.  At  the  same  time,  they  may  go  free  due  to  political  beliefs,  sentiments  and prejudices.  This  finding  interprets  the  theoretical  postulation  of  Rational  choice (1981), which states that   law-violating behaviour occurs when an offender decides

to risk breaking the law after considering both personal factors (such as the need for money,  revenge,  thrills,  and  entertainment)  and  situational  factors  (  how  well  a target is protected and the efficiency of the local police force).

Before choosing to commit a crime, the reasoning criminal evaluates the risks of apprehension, the seriousness of expected punishment, the potential value of the criminal  enterprise,  and  his  or  her  immediate  need  for  criminal  gain.  Conversely, the  decision  to  forgo  crime  may  be  based  on  the  criminal’s  perception  that  the economic benefits are no longer there or that the risks of apprehension is too great. Therefore, those youth engage in political violence consider the benefit as more than the risks and possible apprehension by the police in Kano Metropolis. As the whole data revealed,  it  can be  said  that  political activities in Kano  Metropolis  is  a factor that predisposes the youth to drug abuse.

On Modern Civllization or Resource Mismanagement

On the above issue, it was gathered that, 59 respondents represented by 49.2 per  cent  believed  that  drug  abuse  is  a  modern  civilization.  In  otherwords,  it  came along  with  the  new  modern  technological  developments.  On  the  otherhand,  61 respondents  represented  by  50.8  per  cent  of  the  distribution  believed  that  drug abuse especially among the youth is resource mismanagement.


The   findings   from   the   study   revealed   that   the   number   of   employed respondents  was61.2  per  cent  as  against  unemployed  respondents  who  were  38.8 per cent. Also, the findings show that 36 (31.0 per cent) of the respondents had only primary  school  qualification.  In  terms  of  educational  qualification,  44.8per  cent  of the  respondents  had  secondary  school  qualification;  while  14.7  per  cent  of  the respondents had post-secondary school qualification (which may be NCE, Diploma, HND, Degree etc.). Only 9.5percent of the respondents had Islamic education.   It is indicated that only few youth have higher education, lack of chances to further their education may be why the youth are in drug abuse.

The data from the study show that 61.2 percent of the respondents involve in Political activities as against 38.8 percent respondents who do not. Fifty six percent do  not  engage  in  political  violence  as  against  44.0  percent  who  engage.  The  cross- tabulation between income and political violence shows that respondents within the average  monthly  earnings  of  those  whose  incomes  fall  between  N4,999  and  below are  44.1percent,  those  with  income  between  N  5,000  –  N  9,999  are  43.8  percent, those  with  income  between  N  10,000  –  14,999  are  42.3  percent,  those  within  N

15,000- N 19,999 are 44.4 percent, while those with income starting from N 20,000 – above  are  46.7  percent.  On  the  benefits  of  engaging  in  political  violence,  the  data shows  that  25.9  percent  have  only  monetary  benefit,  24.1  percent  have  popularity gain, while 50 percent respondents have monetary and popularity benefits. On this basis,  political  thuggery  and  the  related  activities  seem  to  encourage  drug  abuse

among the youth in Kano Metropolis.


Based on the summarised data above, the study is concluded as follows:

1.    Majority    of    the    youth    drug    abusers    are    employed,    although    economic factorssuchas profit maximization encourages drug abuse among the youth.

2.     Lack of higher educational qualifications is a factor that pushes the youth into drug abuse and subsequently to politically related crimes.

3.    Similarly, political thuggery is another factor responsible for drug abuse among the youth.


Based on data generated and analysed, the following recommendations are made:

1.   The   use   of   the   youth   by   the   political   elites   as   political   thugs   should   be discouraged  by  the  concerned  authorities  such  as  NDLEA  and  Police.  This  is  to prevent the youth from involving in drugs to perpetuate the political activities.

2. Parents and community members should monitor the movement of their children and the company they keep to ensure that children develop and maintain acceptable relationships amongst themselves.

3. Hence, the help of religious scholars, community elders and especially the policy makers is needed in this regard.

4.  The  welfare  of  Law  Enforcement  Agents  should  be  improved  to  reduce  the problem of    bribe collection by the agents. In addition, more avenues of counselling and bailing drug     offenders should be provided by the NDLEA and Police.

5.  Finally,  the  mass  media  and  Non-Governmental  Organizations  (NGOs)  should involve in massive campaigns against drug abuse especially among the youth.


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[11] Lardner, G, Jr. (1997): Journal of Women in Criminal Population: Justice Department Report, Washington Post, USA.

[12] Lauer,   R.H   (1992).Social   Problems  and  the  Quality   of   Life   (5th    Ed)   USA:   Wm.   C.   Boom


[13] Madden, J. S (1984). A Guide to Alcohol and Drug Dependence. Bristol: Wright Publishers. [14] Main Report of the Vision 2010 Committee. Abuja: National Assembly Press.

[15] NAFDAC (2000): Toward a Healthy Population in Nigeria,  A Quarterly Report, June 1991. [16] NDLEA (1991). A Compiled Record of Mental Hospitals in Nigeria.

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Dazeine press Ltd, Lagos.

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[19] National  Populations  Commission,  (2005):  The  Historic  Events  of  Kano  State;  Published  by

National Populations Commission, for the National Population and Housing Census, (2006).

[20] Ngesul,  L.M,  Ndiku,  J.  and  Masese,  A.  (2008).  “Drug  Dependence  and  Abuse  in  Kenyan Secondary   Schools:   Strategies   for   intervention.”   Full   Length   Research   Paper   Educational Research and Review Vol. 3 (10), pp. 304-308.

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[23] Olatunde,   (1979).   “Drug   Habits   of   Teenagers   and   Young   People   in   Tropical   Africa Compared   with   other   developing   and   developed   countries.”   In   Self   Medication:   Benefits, Precautions and Dangers. London, Macmillan Press.

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Paper Delivered at a 2-Day Conference On Drug Abuse, Bayero University Kano.

[25] Sullivan,   T.   J.   and   Thompson,   K.S.   (1994).Introduction   to   Social   Problems.   New   York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

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Published 1997, pp11-29. [30] 5th  May,

Ali Ado Siro
Department of Criminology and Security Studies, Federal University, Dutse– Nigeria

Post Editor: Bappi Kabir


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