Just my literary and journalistic stuff. Might prove useful.

Drugs to Death: What you need to know




Published by Dewdrop Communications, 2002.

E-mail –

Copyright © Tsanyawa, Haruna. 2002

ISBN – 978-36212-1-1

Dewdrop – R 1000111

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the copyright owners.

First Edition    Sept. 2002

Second Edition            Jan. 2003

Printed by IMSABARI PRINTS, KANO. P.O. BOX 12870, KANO-NIGERIA, TEL: 080 37021387


Proudly made in Nigeria


FOREWORD By Prof. Isidore S. Obot

I have known Honourable Umar Tsanyawa (one of the authors of this book) since 1999 when, together with other members of the House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes, he attended the Fourth Biennial National Conference on ‘Drugs and Society’ organized by  the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse (CRISA) in Jos.  Since then and as a consultant to the Committee I have had the opportunity of interacting with him on many occasions.  It is not surprising that Hon. Tsanyawa and his co-author, Mr. Suleiman Haruna, have decided to devote their time and energy to writing this book.  Both men have, over the years, demonstrated a commitment to educating the public about the ills that afflict us.  In different capacities, one in community health and the other in public enlightenment programmes, both of them have been involved in imparting knowledge for the sake of individual and national development. I congratulate the two of them for this commendable effort.

This book is a welcome initiative for several reasons.  Not only is it a needed drug education resource, it is well researched and written with the average reader in mind.  In addition, the book is a clear indication of the growing recognition by civil society that the abuse of psychoactive substances – including alcohol, tobacco products and illicit drugs – is contributing to the burden of diseases in Nigeria.  The natural response, therefore, for individuals and government alike, is to join forces and work towards the reduction, if not total elimination, of alcohol and drug abuse and associated problems.

These problems are not new in our country.  In fact, concerns about drugs started more than forty years ago. It was in the early 1960s when the first alarm was raised about the increasing use of Cannabis (Indian hemp) and stimulants (kwaya) by youth in urban areas.  Of course, problems related to excessive consumption of alcohol have been with us for much longer.  Unfortunately, the situation has changed dramatically in the past twenty years.  Mainly because of drug trafficking through the country’s ports and changing lifestyles of urban youth, new and potent substances (especially cocaine and heroin) seem to have found a home in modern Nigeria.

It is understandable that the attention of government has been focused for many years on eliminating the supply of these illicit drugs.  However, it has been the case in other countries and is the case in Nigeria today that a trafficking country sooner or later becomes a using country.  Data from school and adult population surveys conducted by the NDLEA and NGOs are clear that Nigerians, like their counterparts in other parts of the world, are using a wide range of substances to ‘get high.’  These surveys also show that cannabis, cocaine, heroin, stimulants, and alcohol are associated with increasing prevalence of psychiatric disorders among youth and young adults.

It is difficult to predict what the future holds but if the observed patterns are maintained, the burden of alcohol and other drugs in Nigeria will escalate in the coming years.  Not only will the abuse of these drugs increase but the prevalence of problems like HIV/AIDS, accidents, violence, health conditions, and problems in the workplace which are linked to drug use are bound to increase.

Only a concerted assault on unrestrained availability of licit and illicit drugs, and well-articulated and consistent education programmes will save our children from the ravages of these drugs.  For over a decade now, CRISA has been actively involved in the dissemination of information to the public on licit and illicit drugs, and has consistently called on individuals and civil society organizations to treat drug abuse as a problem worthy of serious attention.  Similar calls have been made by the NDLEA and the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP).  Hon. Tsanyawa and Suleiman Haruna have heeded that call.  Their contribution to the control of drug abuse in Nigeria through the writing of this book is a commendable act.  May their example serve as encouragement to others.

Prof. Isidore S. Obot


Centre for Research and Information

On Substance Abuse (CRISA)


June 2002



This book will be complete only as a result of the contribution of a lot of organizations and individuals including NDLEA, NAFDAC, FRSC, The Nigeria Police, and CRISA in Jos.  Others include United Nations Information Center, Lagos; UNDCP, Nigeria Office; and ONDCP in the United States, especially for the permission to use the anti drug posters on their websites.

The Honourable Speaker, House of Representatives, Alh. Ghali Umar Na’abba, is a shining light to his colleagues in the National Assembly for the leadership he exudes and which directs all members and committees of the House to perform excellently especially in the area of narcotic drugs, tobacco and financial crimes. The Chairman/CEO NDLEA Alh. Bello Lafiaji has since inception been improving the outlook and functions of the agency.  His staff have equally proved versatile in their effort to stem the tide of drug prevalence in Nigeria.  Also of note is the effort of the National Assembly.  Both the Senate and the House of Representatives and especially their committees on narcotics, for their efforts in facing the challenges of drug abuse and trafficking.

As for individuals, Professor Isidore Obot stands out.  Others include Abba B. Muhammad, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Police Affairs; Mrs. Chikezie of NDLEA, Sani Ahmed the legal Adviser NAFDAC; Abubakar Sadiq Muhammad of the National Assembly; Dr. Danjuma Al Mustafa of UNICEF; Abubakar Aliyu Tsafe of the CVU-Office of the President; Mrs. Araba of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos; Mrs. J. O. Ogunleye, the Executive Secretary, Utilities Charges Commission, Abuja and Sule Ado Sabari.

We have contacted many websites and used their materials during the course of this work, some for posters and others for drug information. They include:

 To all these great individuals and organizations, we express our unreserved gratitude.

Tsanyawa, Haruna.



Whenever the history of the 20th century is recalled, various issues including war and disease would be blamed for depleting world population.  Drugs will be mentioned along with them as a kind of voluntary euthanasia for millions of people all around the globe.  The scourge of cocaine, marijuana, heroine and others is probably greater than that attributed to disease anywhere in a century that is well known for preventive medicine.  Some die for taking the drugs, others die as a result of crime and accidents that relate to drugs.  Yet thousands more roam our streets naked as a result of drug-induced madness.  Still, others are in jail for drug crimes.

The bulk of all these are young people less than forty years old. Adventurism, get-rich-quick syndrome, stubbornness and negative peer pressure are mostly responsible, yet parents still refuse to talk with their children about bedtime, friends, about school.

Parents, youths and teachers should find this book educative, as it is  elementary, and un-academic in nature.  It is meant to pass the message raw and the ultimate goal is to deter young people from ever experimenting with drugs.  What anti-drugs do you employ?  Good friends, questions, honesty, truth, communication, love and good parenting.  The time to act is now!



 Wave of drugs (poem)

 Surf on the wave

And be a slave

You’ll misbehave

And see yourself rave


Be it glug or smoke

Or sniff, huff or coke

Be a great bloke

And throw off the yoke


 Your freedom, save

And your death, stave

You must be brave

Even though you crave.



 Table of Contents


–         Copyright page        i

–         Foreword                ii

–         Acknowledgement     v

  • Preface vii
  • Poem viii
  1. In the Beginning: Chapter One 1

 3. Drug – Related Laws: Chapter Two 7

  • – UN Conventions

–         Other International Efforts

–         Local Legislations

  1. Drug and Their Implications: Chapter Three 25

Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis

Steroids, Inhalants, Heroin,

Depressants, Hallucinogens,

Amphetamines and

Amphetamine-variants, Cocaine,

Caffeine, Others.

  1. Abuse and Dependence: The Pertinent Questions:

Chapter Four     42

Criteria for Substance Abuse, Substance Dependence, Signs of Abuse, Stages of Abuse, Why engage in Substance Abuse? Terminal Points of Drugs in The body, Self-Medication, Consequences of Substance Abuse.

  1. Facts and figures on Drugs: Chapter Five 57

Drug Seizures, Arrests, Prosecutions, Hospital Admissions, Drugs and Road Accidents etc.

  1. Drugs and Crime: Chapter Six 63

Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Forgeries, Local Crime, Murder, Suicide, Assault, Accidents, Intimate Violence etc

  1. Public Enlightenment Efforts: Chapter Seven 76

Posters and Handbills on Drug Education.

  1. Religion and Drug Abuse: Chapter Eight 101

Islam and Drug Abuse,

Christianity and Drug Abuse

  1. Prevention Strategies: Chapter Nine 107

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Prevention Strategies. Treatment for Drug-dependence.

  1.            118




 ‘Drug abuse is preventable. If children reach adulthood without using illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco, they are unlikely to develop chemical dependency problems later in life. To this end, the best strategy is to involve parents, coaches, mentors, teachers, clergy and other role models in a broad prevention campaign.

       Drug dependence is a chronic relapsing disorder that exacts an enormous cost on individuals, families, business, communities and nations.  Addicted individuals frequently engage in self- destructive and criminal behavior. Treatment programs also reduce the consequences of addiction on the rest of society.  Along with prevention and treatment; law enforcement is essential for reducing drug use and illegal drug traffic, which inflicts crime, violence and corruption on our communities. It is the first line of defense against such unacceptable activity.’

 Barry R. McCaffrey

Former Director ONDCP

 The preceding quotation succinctly explains the drug problems that pervade our society. The problem has gradually changed the face of business, politics, medicine law making the world over, it has created for itself a whole new out look, which includes an active army of drug barons, capable of toppling governments; and a passive army of drug abusers, who indulge in criminal behavior and attempt to hold their society to ransom.  At the end, their drug abuse leads them to jail, madness, sickness and death.

The Scope of the Drug Problem

Nigeria’s drug problem can be said to be in three broad areas:

  1. The importation and exportation of hard drugs – This phenomenon has put Nigeria in very negative spotlight. Traffickers use Nigeria to bring in drugs and take them to other destinations. This also is affected by the cultivation of cannabis, which is exported to other countries by the same traffickers.

 Another problem, which is introspective, is the abuse by Nigerians of licit and illicit substances, psychoactive, psychotropic and prescription drugs. Giving way to the loss of serious number of man-hours and thousands of young productive people yearly.

  1. The dumping of psychotropic, dangerous and expired, counterfeit and fake drugs by foreign pharmaceutical concerns in collaboration with Nigerian importers and smugglers has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse and self-medication. This is more so considering the proliferation of drug hawkers all over the country and the problem of poverty, ignorance and dearth of health facilities.


Policy Approaches to the Drug Problem

 There are various approaches of dealing with the problems and they included:

  1. Drug Law Enforcement approach-The use of punitive strategies to detect apprehend, prosecute, convict, imprison or kill drug producers, suppliers, traffickers, and sellers, users and abusers and other necessary enforcements.
  2. Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment-The use of drug education and drug treatment with the aim of reducing demand.
  3. Drug Legalization and Decriminalization approach- another approach is to regulate drugs and not criminalize them. This will help control the problem better.
  4. Harm Reduction Approach – This approach recommends the minimization of the harm associated with the drug abuse like violence, spread of diseases and death due to impurities.

Policy Goals

The overall goals of the approaches are three and these are:

  1. Supply reduction – to provide strong legal provisions, strong destruction campaign, crop eradication, crop substitution, enhanced criminal justice system, tracking and detection;


  1. Demand reduction – to ensure punishment for possession, use and abuse of drugs. Introduce drug testing, drug education, treatment and rehabilitation, expand opportunities for education, employment, shelter etc;
  2. Harm reduction – to decriminalize soft drugs and strictly regulate hard drugs, provide health services for drug dependent persons and even offer regulated drug supply for them and introduce feasible integration programs and provide for them relevant information [education and enlightenment].

This research covers vast areas in its nine chapters.  The first, which is this, is an overview of the whole book, while the second discusses laws enacted in Nigeria and elsewhere to control the movement and use of drugs.  This chapter will help to enlighten young people and their parents to know the penalties for different offences associated with drug abuse.  The third is a full brief on all the drugs and their implications, both long and short term.  This chapter should easily teach the dangers of every individual drug.  The fourth is a chapter on all questions surrounding drugs and answers to them.  Young people want to know a lot about these drugs, but ignorance misleads some of them; this chapter will help.  Fifth is on facts and figures.  Here, we will see the gravity of the drugs in action; drugs and accidents, hospital admissions, rate of consumption, you name it.  Sixth is the chapter on drugs and their relationship with crime; they are threefold, find out.  The seventh chapter is a pictorial.  It will showcase public enlightenment posters.  You will relish them.  The eight is a chapter on what religion says about the drug problems, both Islam and Christianity have their views reflected.  The last chapter is an overview of some prevention strategies, which can help stem the growth of the problem.


             There may be need to define some terms, which the reader will frequently come across as he/she reads the book.  These are not academic and standard definitions; they are only meant to give an insight into the meaning of the terms.


  1. Drug – Any chemical substance that alters a person’s normal bodily process or function. It is used interchangeably with ‘substance’.
  2. Drug Abuse – non therapeutic use of any psychoactive substance, so that it may affect the users bodily function;
  3. Drug Misuse – inappropriate use of drugs meant for therapeutic purposes contrary to the instruction of qualified medical personnel.
  4. Drug Use – controlled and approved use of listed substance for medical use as approved by qualified medical personnel.
  5. Drug Policy – conscious or deliberate course of action by a government to deal with one or more dimensions of drug problems that are of concern to society.
  6. Illicit Traffic – illegal movement of drugs from one country to another with the purpose of sale or distribution to consumers.
  7. Drug Courier – person who carries drugs from one place to another especially from one country to another. Sometimes referred to as drug peddler.
  8. Psychoactive Drug – Drug that are considered as habit forming, which have natural sources like alcohol, cocaine, heroin etc.
  9. Psychotropic Drug – Drugs that have chemical origins, which are manufactured in a lab like LSD, Benzodiazepines, Amphetamines etc. Also in this category are inhalants like rubber solution, washing blue, paint thinner et cetera which were not manufactured as drugs but are used as drugs.
  10. Drug Addict/Dependant Person – anybody who has enslaved himself to taking drugs without which his body cannot function properly, and who manifests serious sickness anytime he decides to quit.
  11. Hard drugs – illegal [illicit] drugs
  12. Soft drugs – Legal [licit] drugs.



 It is necessary for the reader to know what level of attention the drug problem has attracted around the World. Both International and regional efforts have led to many laws introduced to control the spread of drugs and their abuse. The United Nations since the days of the League of Nations has introduced many protocols and offices to handle various drug-related functions. In Nigeria too, even before independence, attention has been given to drug-related problems.

The need for this chapter is to create awareness and consciousness of the laws governing drug control in order to successfully get people to avoid drug offences. One may know what is in store for him if he traffics in cocaine today, or is caught smoking marijuana. Let us start with the UN on drug control.


 The 1946 Protocol:

In  1946, UN took over drug control functions and responsibilities from the League of Nations. The functions of the leagues advisory committee on drugs were transferred to UN Commission or Narcotic Drugs also established in 1946 as a functional commission of the Social and Economic Council of the UN. This transfer was effected by a protocol, which entered into force on October 10, 1947.

 1948 Protocol:

Shortly after the Second World War, synthetic drugs appeared and these had  dependence–producing effects. However, only coca bush, opium poppy and cannabis were covered  by earlier  laws  (1931 convention) this necessitated the  1948  protocol, which came into effect December  1, 1949.

1953 Opium Protocol:

Also called (protocol for limiting and regulating the cultivation of the poppy plant, the production of the international and wholesale trade in and use of opium. Signed at New York) entered into force March 8, 1963. The protocol eliminated over-production through control of the amount of opium that could be stocked by individual countries. The protocol empowered International Narcotics Controls Board (INCB) with specific supervisory and enforcement responsibilities, which are to be used with the consent of the government concerned in the control efforts.

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961:

This convention had three objectives viz; the need to codify all

existing   multi lateral  treaty  laws in this field; the need to simplify and streamline the control machinery and the  extension of the existing control systems to include the cultivation of plants that were grown as raw materials  of natural narcotic drugs.

Some provisions of the single convention also contained new obligations dealing with the medical treatment and rehabilitation of addicts. It also retains former conventions, which laws were working effectively.

1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention

This protocol further strengthened the single convention. It was entered into force August 8, 1975. It underscores the necessity for increasing efforts to prevent illicit production of, traffic in and use of narcotics, the need to provide treatment and rehabilitation service to abusers, stressing that treatment, education, after-care rehabilitation and social reintegration should be considered as alternatives to or in addition to imprisonment for abusers who had committed a drug offence.

The protocol also empowers INCB to ensure a balance between supply and demand of Narcotic Drugs for Medical and Scientific purposes in order to prevent illicit drug cultivation, production, manufacture, traffic and use.

 Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971:

Up to 1971, only narcotic drugs were subjected to international

control, the convention was adopted by a plenipotentiary conference held in Vienna between  January and February, 1971.

It entered into force August 16, 1976, to place all synthetic drugs under the control of international law. These include

Amphetamine-type drugs, sedative-hypnotics, and hallucinogens. The World Health Organization was designated to determine on a medical basis, whether a new substance should be included in the schedules of the convention.

1981 International Drug Abuse Strategy:

Sharp increases in drug abuse and illicit traffic by the end of the 1970s were recorded. This necessitated Commission on Narcotic

Drugs (CND) to embark on a study which resulted in the formulation of the ( IDACS) International Drug Abuse Control  Strategy containing a basic 5 year  (1982-1986) programme of action dealing with every aspect of drug control, abuse, trafficking, treatment, rehab and crop substitution. A task force was set up to monitor and coordinate the implementation of the strategy and Programme of Action (POA) and to report to CND on an annual basis. Reports of the task force were delivered through the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly of the UN. Each year the reports showed a rapid increase in the level  of sophistication to the massive global network of illegal drug traffickers. The report made an estimate of addicts, spread of the drugs, and recorded the amount of assistance being offered by the UN in its attempt to limit Production.

 1984 Declaration on the Control of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse:

The General Assembly on December 14, 1984 adopted a declaration on the Control of Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. The Assembly declared that “ Illegal production of, illicit demand for, abuse of, and illicit trafficking in drugs impede economic and social progress, constitute a grave threat to the security and development of many countries and peoples and should be combated by all moral, legal and institutional means at the national, regional or international levels. Its eradication is the collective responsibility of all states”.

 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Traffic:

After the expiration of the 5-year programme of action in 1986 and recognizing the heightened international dimension of the problem connected with illegal drugs. An international conference was called for the expression of political will of nations to combat this menace on a global basis. It is a ministerial level conference that was well attended (138 countries) in Vienna Austria from 17 to 26 June 1987.

The conference adopted recommendations for a broad range of measures to address the entire drug abuse phenomenon under the ‘Comprehensive Multi-disciplinary Outline’ of future activities relevant to the problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking otherwise called CMO.

 1988 Convention against Illicit Trafficking In Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances.

A conference of plenipotentiaries was convened in 1988, which led to the adoption of the  convention by 106 states. This convention, signed December 20, 1988 was designed  to hit drug traffickers  where it hurt most by depriving them of illegal  financial gains and freedom of movement. One of the innovative provisions of the 34-article convention concerns the tracing, freezing and confiscation of proceeds derived  from drug trafficking. The convention also provides for the criminalization  of drug trafficking offences, extradition of major drug traffickers, mutual legal assistance between states on drug related investigations and the transfer of proceeding  for criminal prosecution. Another significant  landmark is the commitment of  parties to eliminate or reduce illicit  demand for narcotics  drugs and psychotropic substances. Over 150 countries are now parties to the convention. Nigeria signed  on March 1st 1988 and became a party  November 1st 1989.

 1990 Global Program of Action.

The General Assembly adopted a Global Program of Action at its seventeenth special session in March1990 to achieve the goal  of an international society  free of illicit drugs and drug abuse. The assembly was convened to consider as a matter of urgency, the question of international cooperation against illicit production, supply, demand, trafficking and distribution of narcotic   drugs with a view to expanding the scope and increasing the effectiveness of such cooperation.


Between 1990-1999- The UN continued to keep itself involved in the  drug  cause. Through the General Assembly, Economic and Social  Council  and  the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. For example in 1990, apart  from the GPA earlier  discussed , the implementation of the  1988 convention was   vigorously pursued. Between 1991 and 1999 – International action to  combat drug  abuse and illicit trafficking  was a recurring decimal at all sitting of the General Assembly  and especially between 1998-1999 Discussion  of the  Assembly focused on International   Cooperation against the World Drug  problem and the  Political  declaration.

 1998 Political Declaration

The UN General Assembly in a 20 Point declaration resulting from its 20th session in 1998 came up with affirmative action on its concern about the  serious  world  drug problem and the need to consider enhanced action to tackle  it in a spirit of trust and cooperation.  The declaration among others reaffirmed its determination of using local and international strategies to curb the drug  menace, recognize the need for an integrated and balanced   approach and  calls for support for the Commission on Narcotic  Drugs. It  also believes  and recognizes progress  made by States and the efforts  of individuals  and NGOs working in various fields against  drug  abuse as well as confirm the link  between  drugs  and terror  groups around the World . Others include a call on organizations like the World Bank and Regional Development Banks  to  include  action against the World  drug  problem in their programmes and  call to communities   to promote  a society free of drugs  especially  through civil society  organizations, NGO’s Sports, Media etc.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000).

This convention was signed by 125 countries in Italy, the  first legally binding multi-lateral treaty  specifically  targeting trans national  organized crime through a common toolkit of International cooperation  and Criminal  law techniques. It requires states parties to have laws criminalizing the most prevalent types of criminal  conduct associated with organized crime groups, including money laundering. The article on money laundering requires countries to constitute a comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and financial institutions to deter and detect money laundering.

United Nations Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML-UNODCCP)

GPML is a programme of UN  Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, which has a unique function as the only global international organization providing  comprehensive anti-money laundering training and  technical   assistance. Its programme extends to legislators, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges, regulators, bankers and providers of  other financial  services.

 Other efforts include:

Financial Action Task Force 

Financial  Action  Task Force   on Money Laundering was established at the G7 Economic Summit in Paris, in 1989 as an Inter- Government body whose  purpose is the  development and promotion of policies  to combat Money Laundering. In 1990, the FATF issued 40 recommendations to fight the phenomenon. These were revised in 1996 to   reflect changes  in Money Laundering Trends. These recommendations are designed  to  prevent proceeds of crimes from being utilized in future criminal activities  and from affecting legitimate economic activities.

Inter-Governmental  Action Group  Against Money  Laundering (GIABA)

GIABA is an FATF- style regional body, established  by a December, 1999 decision of the Heads of State and Government  of ECOWAS. It held its first meeting in November 2000. All countries of ECOWAS including Nigeria are members. GIABA endorsed the FATF forty recommendations, recognize FATF as an observer and provide for  self-assessment and mutual  evaluation procedures to be carried  out by the body. ECOWAS Ministers have agreed to give  GIABA full autonomy . The body is still in its infancy.


Various laws have been enacted on drug abuse and trafficking. All  of these laws are  aimed at controlling  the  Hydra-headed monster. Drug abuse is drastically undermining the human  resource  potential of Nigeria while trafficking undermines  the International  respect  accorded  Nigeria all over the World. The setting up of the  NDLEA is the  crowning  glory of all legislation in  this respect and  an affirmation that Nigeria has  practically approved all International  convention  on drugs. The NDLEA Act is hereunder simplified for the proverbial   ‘lay men’. Other  decrees then  follow.

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act No 48 Of 1989 (Cap 258)

The Act established the NDLEA to enforce laws against cultivation, processing, sale, trafficking and  use of hard drugs and empowers the agency to investigate  persons suspected to have dealings in drugs and  other related matters.


The functions of the Agency include the adoption of measures to eradicate illicit  cultivation of narcotics plants and eliminate illicit demand for narcotic  drugs. The Agency is also   empowered to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from drug- related offences. The agency is also expected to enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement to suppress illicit traffic on narcotic  drugs and  psychotropic substances. The Agency can enter into international cooperation with a view to suppressing the  international activities of illicit  drug trafficking and reinforce all UN drug conventions. And in Nigeria, the Agency can collaborate with relevant government bodies in carrying out its functions.


  1. On Drug Abuse And Trafficking:
  2. Any person who imports, exports, manufactures, sells, buys, deals in, processes, plants or grows, transports or traffics in illegal drugs without permission shall be liable to be sentenced  to life imprisonment.
  3. Any person who possesses or uses the mentioned drugs including  cocaine, marijuana, heroin and others, will on conviction be sentenced  to between 15 and 25  years in prison.


  1. Laundering Of Monetary Instrument:

This provision is  however repealed  by section  22 of Money Laundering Decree.

  1. Whoever conducts a financial transaction and knows fully that  it involves the proceeds of some illegal activity , either  to promote the illegality  or to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the proceeds of such unlawful activity, or  even  to avoid a lawful  transaction under Nigerian law, shall be liable (if corporate body) to a fine of Two Million  Naira; (either  Director  etc of such financial institution) to a term of imprisonment  not exceeding 25 years.
  2. Whoever transport or attempts to transport monetary instruments to or from Nigeria to or through another  country and knowing fully the illegal source of such fund, shall be liable to a fine of One Million Naira or twice the value of monetary instrument, which  ever is greater or a prison term not exceeding 25 years or  both


  1. Commercial Carriers.

Every commercial carrier has a duty to assure that its means of transport are not used to convey  illegal  drugs. In this respect, they must train appropriate personnel to identify  suspicious  consignment or  goods, promote staff  integrity, submit their cargo manifest  in  advance, and make prompt reports of any related suspicions. Any organization  or person in charge  that falls short of  this  expectation shall be liable  to a fine not exceeding N100,000

Forfeiture After Conviction.

Persons convicted under the NDLEA Act, are to forfeit all property traceable to the  illegal  business  to the Federal  Government . Others to be forfeited include the drugs, equipment and instruments of conveyance including aircraft, vehicles or vessels.

NDLEA Decree 33 Of 1990 (Amendment)

The NDLEA Decree was reviewed and subsequently amended to import stricter penalties for Nigerians who indulge in drug business abroad  and subsequently  get arrested and jailed. These convicts, after sentence abroad, will be brought back to Nigeria, taken before a court of law, and handed down another sentence for dragging Nigeria’s name in the mud. The decree stipulates a sentence of up to five years, depending on the gravity of sentence served abroad.

National Agency  For Food And Drug Administration And Control  Decree (15) 1993. As Amended By Decree 19 Of 1999.



NAFDAC is another crucial body empowered by law, to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and  chemicals. It is also expected to conduct   tests to ensure compliance and undertake appropriate investigations into production premises and raw materials for mentioned regulated  products. NAFDAC is also expected to undertake inspection of imported food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals, establish quality assurance systems and compile standard specifications for their production, transportation, exportation, sale and distribution.

The  Nineteen functions of the agency, lucidly explained also refer to the fact that NAFDAC may  undertake measures to ensure  that the use of narcotic drugs and  psychotropic substances   are limited  to medical and  scientific purpose only.

NAFDAC is also expected to grant authorization for the import and export of such Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. It is also to collaborate with  NDLEA in eradicating drug abuse in Nigeria.

Offences .

There are various regulations guiding the production, import, export, sales and distribution of regulated  products and they  carry  penalties for breach. These regulations are not explicitly mentioned in the decree. But on the principal Decree, reference is made to obstruction of an officer of the agency in the performance of his duties. This attracts a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment  for not more than 2 years. However, in the Amendment Decree 19, (1999). This is amended to read ‘where no penalty has been specified, the person who contravenes   the provisions  of any regulations made under the  decree shall  be liable to a fine of N50,000 or one year imprisonment  or both’ and in the  case of a corporate body, the fine is N100,000.

Counterfeit  And Fake Drugs And Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision)   Act 25, 1999.

The Decree prohibits productions, import, manufacture, sale, distribution of or possession of any counterfeit, adulterated, banned or fake, substandard or expired drug or any wholesome processed food in any form whatsoever.

The penalty for breaching this provision on conviction is a fine of not more than N500, 000 or imprisonment for a term between 5 and 15 years or both. The second provision affects hawking, selling or display for sale in any place not duly licensed by the appropriate authority  and the penalty  for breach of the provision is a fine not exceeding N500,000 or imprisonment  for not less than 2 years or both.

The Decree also provides for the  establishment, constitution and functions of Federal and State Task Forces and  a Nigeria  Police Force Squad. In both provisions, any drugs etc seized  by a task force established  by the  decree shall be forfeited  to the Federal Government.

Alcohol And Liquor Laws

These have now been referred back to the States to administer. With the  advent of Shari’ah in some States of the Federation, Differences, exist for different Alcohol and Liquor related offences. Citizens should therefore inquire about the provisions of particular States on Alcohol before attempting to even  drink in public.

Money Laundering   Decree  3 Of 1995

The Decree provides a tough  penalty for its  breach as well as  set legal standards  for  financial transactions in Nigeria (here meaning in  Nigeria, in a Nigeria registered vessel  or plane). As we know, money laundering has become  the tool used by drug traffickers and other  criminals to legitimize their  drug money, we must know the implication of such destructive action.


(1)      All transactions greater than N500, 000 for individual and  two million  for corporate bodies should be made  through  a financial institution and not in cash.

(2)      All sums greater than  $10, 000 transferred from another country to Nigeria must be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

(3)      Prior to making business transaction, involving up to $100,000, the businessman must identify  the customer.

(4)      Casinos are also mandated to   keep record of the  customers, how much they spend     etc.


(1)      Any body  who transfers  resources  derived  directly or indirectly from illicit traffic  in drugs with the aim of concealing  the origin of the  said funds or aiding  someone in this; or

(2)      Collaborates in concealing or disguising the genuine nature, origin, location, movement  or ownership  of resources, property  or rights  derivable   from such illicit drug  traffic shall be liable  on conviction  to  imprisonment for a term not less than  15 years  and not more than 25 years.

(3)      Other offences include failure to keep record  of transactions,  using false identity  to transact, making greater cash payments than that approved and even  tipping  a customer of the report one is supposed  to make. The penalties range from imprisonment to between 15-25 years,   down to fines   of between 250,000 to One million  Naira.

 Tobacco Smoking Control Act (Amendment)

The House of Representatives  of the National Assembly in March 2002, passed  a bill on Tobacco smoking in Nigeria . The Law takes stern measures to curtail indiscriminate  smoking and advertising. Much unlike the  1990 tobacco smoking control decree 20, which carried  mild penalties  for the offences of smoking and advertising of tobacco products.


(1)      Smoking is banned in public places  such as  cinema houses, stadia, offices, public transportations, elevators,  medical establishments,  schools and nursery institutions.

(2)      Advertisement of tobacco on bill boards, electronic and print media is banned forthwith.


(1)      Any person found guilty  of smoking in these places will be liable  to a fine of  Twenty thousand Naira  or five years  imprisonment  or both.

(2)      Individual vendors or advertisers  will be  liable  to fine of  Twenty  thousand Naira.

(3)      Advertising attracts  a fine of five hundred thousand Naira .

(4)      Where the offence is committed by a corporate   body or firm, every director, manager , secretary  or  other similar officers will be liable  on conviction to a fine of one hundred thousand Naira or three years  imprisonment  or both.

National Drug Formulary  And Essential Drugs List Act (Cap 252) 43 Of 1989.

The Decree stipulates that no person shall import  into, advertise, display  for sale, sell, manufacture in Nigeria any drug, which is not contained in the  essential  drugs list, unless with the  permission of a Minister who is satisfied that it is necessary  to import or manufacture any drug not in the list.

The Minister may furthermore remove any drug from the list, where it has been established to his satisfaction that the drug in question is no longer safe for use.

Any person therefore who contravenes these provisions shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N100, 000 or imprisonment for not more than five years. Were the offence is committed by a corporate body, every director or person in authority in that corporate body shall be held liable.

Some of the drug classes, which affect  this research include Central  Nervous System Drugs, Anesthetic Drugs, Diuretics et Cetera.

Dangerous  Drugs Ordinance: No 12 Of 1935

As variously amended, the ordinance was instituted by the colonial government to regulate import, export, manufacture, sale and use of opium  and other dangerous drugs in Nigeria. It has led to the Dangerous Drugs Regulations of 1937. The regulation has however been abrogated by the enactment of the NDLEA Decree. The ordinance had been prescribed a blanket fine    of One thousand pounds or ten years imprisonment   for its contravention.

Indian Hemp Decree 19 Of 1966

As amended in 1975 and 1984, the Decree was enacted against the planting and cultivation of Indian hemp, unlawful importation, exportation, smoking, unlawful possession, possession of utensils for use in smoking Indian hemp, use of premises for sale, smoking and preparing Indian hemp for smoking . The Decree was abrogated with the  enactment  of the NDLEA Decree. The 1975 amendment was however condemned   for reduction in penalty  for offences of possession and use of Indian Hemp,  because  it led  to increase  in drug  offences.

The Decree introduced the death penalty or a term of 10 years for planting of marijuana, though this   was reversed by amendment  Decree of 1975  to read ‘more than  ten years  and greater than Six Million Naira.’

Special  Tribunal (Miscellaneous  Offences Decree ) 20 Of 1984.

The  Decree in the relevant section, stipulates that any person who deals, sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale, smokes, drinks, inhales or induces other to so deal, should suffer death by firing squad and forfeit their assets to the Federal  Government. The 1986 amendment however abolished capital punishment. But illicit traffic attracted imprisonment for not more than 20 years; buying and selling, not more than the 14 years; while for usage it is between  2-10 years.   Manufacture attracts life imprisonment.

The NDLEA Decree 48, of 1989 provides that any person arrested for drug related offences shall be charged before the SMOT. However with the promulgation of the Tribunal  (Certain Consequential Amendments etc) Decree, 1999. The SMOT  no longer has power to try any of the offences committed under NDLEA decree, the Federal High Court is  now vested with  that power. Some Nigerians were executed by the SMOT due to drug  offences in the early ‘80s.

Amphetamine And Other Drugs (Control ) Decree Of 1968

The Decree required  that Amphetamine and other related Drugs be imported under license and sold and  dispensed  as prescription   drugs. It was repealed by the Food and Drug Act of 1974.

Food and Drugs Act, 1974

This Act widely controlled the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale and  distribution of Amphetamine, Secobarbital, Methaqualone  and other licit drugs, foods, cosmetics, chemicals and other related substances which may be subject to abuse. This Act was the precursor to the  NAFDAC Act.




Alcohol comes in the form of beer, whisky, gin, brandy, burukutu, ogogoro, and palm-wine etc cetera.  Alcohol in some societies has become accepted as part of life.  it is used in public gatherings, parties, ceremonies etc cetera.  But most religions ban its use.

People generally take alcohol to feel ‘high’.  When they take it, they feel intoxicated and therefore out of this world.  At the time of intoxication, the drinkers forget worries and become carried away by dreams and false realities.  Important social issues like relationships, respect, parenthood, love, fear and importance all become a mirage.  That is why a drunk does not respect his parents, beats up his wife and children and commits kinds of atrocities, which when sober, he will regret and be filled with remorse for a long time.

Alcohol when taken enters very quickly into the bloodstream within minutes of consumption, and heads straight for the brain.  The brain will immediately react and the physical ability of the body to function properly will be affected.  The muscles do not receive appropriate commands from the brain, so both understanding and response becomes very slow.  Both his vision and ability to think are impaired.  The body does not respond quickly to the directive of the brain.


When a person takes alcohol, he makes his liver to work overtime in expelling the poison from the blood stream, thereby endangering its function.  Drinking also stimulates latent diseases for example lung cancer as a result of smoking can be made manifest by drinking.  It also weakens the will.  This easily leads to temptation for corruption and for all sorts of immoral acts.  Alcohol also lessens the sharpness of the mind, so it influences ones ability to make sound judgements.  Alcohol leads to premature deaths of many, permanent disability and intimate violence.  It also leads females into prostitution and males into occult and armed robbery.  It is principal causative factor for divorce and has a wide range of medical consequences on the user.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

The alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a cluster of symptoms observed in persons who stop drinking alcohol following continuous and heavy consumption.  Milder forms of the syndrome include tremulousness, seizures, and hallucinations, typically occurring with 6-48 hours after the last drink.  A more serious syndrome, delirium tremens (DTs), involves profound confusion, hallucinations, and severe autonomic nervous system overactivity, typically beginning between 48 and 96 hours after the last drink (Victor 1983).

An author has said:

‘Alcohol is a disease without a cure, it is the only disease contracted by an act of will, that requires license for distribution, that is bottled and sold, produces revenue for government, that promoted crime.  A disease spread by mass media through adverts, bring death on highways.  Alcohol is the only disease that keeps its victims out of heaven (Ahmadu, 2000).


Tobacco is smoked in raw form, in clay pipes, chewed, used as snuff, cigarettes, piped tobacco, cigar and tobacco chewing gum. (Odejide, 2000)  All over Nigeria, people, both young and old can be seen smoking with reckless abandon.  It has become a fashionable thing to smoke in public; it is as if people are oblivious of the dangers of smoking.  As a matter of fact it is a socially acceptable habit, parents smoke in front of their children, or even send them to buy cigarettes.

Tobacco is relatively cheap and widely available.  It is the easiest drug to obtain anywhere and its production and distribution receive government support.  The use of tobacco generally starts early in life, thereby giving impetus for initiation into other drug use.  It is known that most drug users, especially cannabis and alcohol, started by smoking cigarettes.  The tobacco industry is a strong one.  In Nigeria, the Industry goes to a great deal of trouble to sell their product and pass it as safe and trendy.  Tobacco labels are used to sponsor events; through this they have free promotion of their products.  They also promote attractiveness, sex, health, glamour and excitement associated with western lifestyles.  They also present cigarettes as a rite of passage into adulthood.  It is also associated with self-expression, confidence, independence, freedom and identity.  They also equate smoking with masculinity for men and femininity for females.  They also liken the right to smoke with liberation and equity. It is also deceptively associated with wealth.


  1. Availability of cigarettes, their cheapness and uncontrolled production. Tobacco farms abound in Nigeria. In some places, they have succeeded in dislodging other cash and food crops. They are hawked all over the place.
  2. Advertising and promotion of cigarettes. The sponsorship, the music shows, printed garments, and both radio, bill board and print media adverts daily, dominate the senses of all listeners and readers and the young is subsequently tempted to find out whether it was true that cigarettes are ‘great’.
  3. Pressure from peers, sibling and parental example. It is clear that a substantial number of smokers learnt the habit from people they relate with everyday, friends have a serious impact in learning the habit. It is believed that if a group smokes, they are unlikely to relate with a friend who does not. Sometimes, in the quest for independence from parents, a youth ends up depending on his peer group and responds to their demands, while being heady to his parents. Parents who smoke expose their children to the habit and smoking peers then offer him an opportunity to experiment what he has seen at home.


The most dangerous substance in all the products of tobacco is nicotine, which is highly addictive. There are also some 4000 chemicals in cigarettes made up of toxins and irritants. Another component of cigarettes is carbon monoxide, which disrupts the body’s ability to obtain and use oxygen.


This substance has several names: wee wee, ganja, Indian hemp, igbo, pot, weed, morocco, stone and so on. One peculiar thing about cannabis is that it is both a depressant and a stimulant. Its use has been widely reported by many researchers and it is obvious that cannabis use has attained widespread notoriety all over Nigeria.  Youths are now into it, like the generation before them struck to tobacco.  It is worthy to note that most of those who smoke cannabis started from tobacco.

Its use has been exacerbated by its ease of availability and cheapness.  It is produced in large quantities in Nigeria.  It is also the first illicit substance to be associated with maladaptive behaviour and psychiatric disorders in Nigeria and till date remains the most prevalent illicit substance used in Nigeria. It is instructive to note that children of both privileged and non-privileged parents used it.

The major predisposing factor to the use of cannabis is peer exposure, it is not advertised any were, and it is not sold publicly. So it’s users depends on a network, which includes their close friends who introduce them to it’s use. Most smokers of cannabis smoked the first few rolls free, and started buying after they have been hooked.

Smokers smoke the leaves and the resins. There is also hashish and hashish oil which are derivatives of cannabis and which are as strong or even stronger than the substance.  It is very deadly and has succeeded in destroying a large chunk of Nigerian youth.  Some youths believe it has ‘spirit’, which allows its user to stay safe feel like the boss of the whole world or see visions.  This is the euphoric state to which it subjects its victims.


Serious hazards abound in the brain and lungs for users of pot, and these subsequently impact on a person’s learning and social behaviour.  THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main active chemical in marijuana, changes the way in which sensory information is received in the brain.  The systems affected by this action are the same ones responsible nay crucial for learning, memory and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivations.  In fact even learned behaviours gradually deteriorate.


Doping, as the use of steroids is called, is the use of prohibited substances or methods to achieve success in sports, without really earning that success.  It is therefore an unfair means of achieving sporting excellence and literally it means cheating or sporting malpractice as sports men and women who work hard, made personal sacrifices and self denial in order to succeed, always fall behind these cheats.

This practice has over the years gained considerable prominence among sports men and women, especially those engaged in heavy sports like weightlifting, boxing, wrestling et cetera.  The practices involve:

  1. The use of prohibited substances: – These include:
  2. Stimulants like amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, ephedrine and strychnine etc. Both psychomotor stimulants and central nervous system stimulants are involved here as they are used to increase alertness, wakefulness and concentration.  They delay fatigue, decrease sensitivity to pain and increase aggressiveness.  All these effects combine to give an undue competitive edge to its user. However, sportsmen hardly look beyond their nose to see the side effects of these drugs, which could have actually dissuaded them.  The use of the drugs lead to irregular heartbeat, which could in turn lead to cardiac arrest.  It leads to rise in body heat and blood pressure, leads to dehydration, reduces blood circulation.  Cardiovascular collapse leading to stroke, increased aggressiveness leads to injuries while masking of pain could lead to fatal exhaustion, these are short term.  The long-term effects are mental depression, schizophrenia and psychosis.  In other words madness and death.
  3. Narcotics like heroin and morphine. These are powerful painkillers that also produce euphoric feeling.  They help athletes to surpass their normal threshold of pain so they could lead to permanent tissue damage, they could also lead to respiratory depression, and physical and psychological dependence on the drugs.
  4. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids – These are male sex hormones called testosterone which when used increases muscle bulk, strength, and bring more endurance. People who use these drugs look excessively masculine.  Today wrestlers, boxers, sprinters, weight lifters and many others use these drugs.  But their side effects which include aggression, liver damage, cardiovascular diseases, decrease in size of testicles and fertility, low sperm count, acne, breast enlargement, kidney damage are never given attention until they occur.  Social effects include intimate violence, seething rage and violence.  For sportswomen, these drugs lead to facial hair like moustache and beard, baldness, voice deepening and suppression of ovarian functions, – no more childbirth!
  5. Others – These include Beta blockers, used to calm nerves of athletes like in archery, golf, shooting etcetera. Diuretics which help to eliminate fluids from the body, these are used in sports like boxing, judo, wrestling and horse racing in order to immediately reduce weight so as to compete in a specific category of a sport.  These are also used to reduce concentration of drugs by diluting urine.  The end result of these actions is either renal or cardiac failure; Peptide Hormones, Mimetic and Analogues.  These are a new method of using anabolic steroids, so they have the same positive and negative effects. Restricted substances – substances like alcohol and traditional herbs are permitted up to a point beyond which they become illegal in sports.

Generally, the gains of doping are fleeting, while both the short and long-term negative effects are enormous.  We have seen athletes that won Olympic gold and loss it, we have also known of athletes who fell and died on the field of play.  Thousands more are recuperating in rehabilitation centers and hospitals.  Among teenagers, steroids use can lead to untimely halting of growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes.  All steroid users risk liver tumors, severe acne and trembling.


The term “inhalants” refer to more than a thousand different household and commercial products that can be intentionally abused by sniffing of huffing for an intoxicating effect.  These products are comprised of volatile solvents, gases and nitrites and are commonly found in adhesive, cleaning solutions, and paint products.  Their easy accessibility, low cost and ease of concealment makes inhalants one of the first substances abused by growing children.

The most commonly abused substances in the category include; adhesives like rubber solution used in the repairs of leaking vehicle tubes, solvents like nail polish remover, correction fluids, paint thinner, aerosols like spray paint, hair spray, air freshener, insecticides, shoe polish, etc cetera.  In Nigeria, the abuse is not only restricted to young children.  Artisans car mechanics, welders, petrol attendants also use them.

They produce psychoactive vapors.  They are fat – soluble substances that easily pass through the blood-brain barrier to produce a change in the state of consciousness similar to a mild stage of Anesthesia.


Nearly all abused inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down body functions.  When taken repeatedly, the intoxicating effects of inhalants can last for hours and eventually lead to loss of consciousness.

Highly concentrated inhalants when sniffed can directly induce heart failure and death.  This can result also from suffocation by displaying oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases.  Other effects include hearing loss, limb spasms, brain or central nervous system damage, bone marrow damage, liver and kidney damage and blood oxygen depletion.


Heroin is a narcotic drug but instead of being a stimulant, it is for reduction of the perception of pain.  It is in the same class with cocaine in international trafficking, abuse and dependence.  Other drugs in the same class with heroin include opium, morphine, codeine, hesperidins and methadone.  Most of these drugs can be used to ease pain, suppress cough and treat diarrhea, even though heroin itself has no medical use.

Some of these effects include shallow breathing; reduced anger, thirst, high sex drive and drowsiness.  It is also associated with lethargy, heaviness of limbs, apathy, loss of ability to concentrate loss of judgement and self-control.


Heroin use is associated with serious health conditions including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious disease including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.  Others include abscesses, cellulitis, pulmonary complications including pneumonia, infertility in females especially menstrual abnormalities.  Births to children with deformities are common.

Street heroin may also have additives that do not readily dissolve and this result in clogging the blood vessels that leads to the lungs, liver, kidney or brain.  This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.

They are also associated with hazards like tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, withdrawal is often very painful, while overdose can lead to coma, convulsion, respiratory arrest and death.

Paraphernalia for administering heroin include hypodermic needles, small cotton, balls, razor blades, straws, rolled currency bills and pipes.  Synthetic opiates such as methadone’s exist.

Others are pethidine and hydromorphone.  But methadone is useful for the treatment of heroin dependence.


Depressants (also called sedatives & hypnotics) are psychotropic substances that slow down the nervous system.  These are many drugs in this category.  Benzodiazepines (valium. Ativan etc), barbiturates, tranquilizers and methoqualone.

These are also called goof balls, barbs, blues, soapers, quads, ludes and they were used to treat epilepsy, insomnia and to relieve anxiety and relax patients before and during surgery.  Generally people use them to sleep or to become intoxicated, especially when they are frustrated or sad.  People with marital problems are known to use this drug to temporarily drown their problems.  Unemployment is another predisposing factor to the use of depressants.

Some of the effects of these depressants include slowed heart rate and breathing, lowered blood pressure, slowed reactions, confusion, weakened emotion control, distortion of reality, reduced awareness, intoxication, drowsiness, loss of coordination, changes in personality, dizziness and hang-over.

The hazards of depressants include tolerance, physical and psychological dependence, can cause road accidents due to slowed down reaction, confusion, overdoses can cause coma, respiratory arrest, convulsion, even death.  Accidental overdoses occur because the user is unaware of how much of the drug have been taken.

Withdrawal can also be very dangerous and may require medical attention.  Combining psychotropic depressants mentioned above with alcohol, which is a psychoactive depressant, can cause worse conditions.  Hypno-sedatives were also taken to drown the effects of stimulants, cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines especially by school youths.

Depressants may produce a temporary sense of well being, produce mood depression, and apathy.  Intoxicating doses of depressants invariably result in impaired judgement, slurred speech and loss of motor coordination, in addition to dangers of disorientation, resulting in high incidence of road accidents, recurrent users incur risks of long term involvement.


These drugs can cause serious changes in perception and consciousness.  They include MDMA, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Phencyclidine (PCP) others include mescaline, MAD, DMT, STP and psilocybin.

(MDMA) 3, 4 – methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

They are synthetic, psychoactive substance- possessing stimulants with mild hallucinogenic properties. They can produce stimulant effects like enhanced sense of pleasure, self-confidence and increased energy. Its hallucinogenic properties include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance and empathy.

Users claim they experience closeness with others and a desire to touch.  Consequently MDMA users embraced the misconception that it is relatively safe.  However, various researches have shown that this drug can cause serious health problems and in some cases, death. Used in combination with alcohol, MDMA and others of the so-called “club drugs” become even more dangerous, the long term psychological effects of MDMA can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety and paranoia.

Other effects of the drug include increased heart rate, blood pressure, increase in blood sugar, and irregular breathing, loss of ability to separate fact from fantasy, distortion of sense, hallucinations, paranoia, panic, violence, loss of coordination, depression.

Hazards associated with club drugs are that tolerance develops quickly, increase risk of birth defects in users children, death may result from suicide, murder or accidents, overdose can cause psychosis, convulsions, coma, death.


Amphetamines, Methamphetamines and Detroxamphetamines, are also called speed, bennies, pep pills, ICD, Crystal meth, crank, Ice etc.

Amphetamines are used medically to control weight, treat hyperactivity and it was used to treat narcolepsy and so on.  But manual labourers, farmers, masons, etc cetera generally use it, it is generally used also by community based organizations during their self-help activities that are physical-work oriented.

Hawkers also use the drug in order to sustain the energy to sell their wares.  People use the drug so they could work beyond their normal productivity thresholds, in other to earn more.  Drivers and conductors have been known to use ICD.

The drug has effects on the body like increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, and increased activity.  It also includes a feeling of alertness, self-confidence, sometimes followed by depression, hallucination, paranoia and temporary mental derangement (as a result of overdose).

The has many hazards – the user may push beyond his or her physical limits and suffer exhaustion.  Tolerance, physical and psychological dependence can develop.  Continued high doses can cause heart problems, infections, malnutrition and also death.

Amphetamines act mainly by releasing serotonin from the presynaptic terminals and inhibiting its uptake.  This action produces an increased sense of well being, improves physical and verbal performance, decreases fatigue, induces loss of appetite and elevates the pain threshold.  Students, farmers, masons and long distance drivers and also artisans commonly use it.  Rural dwellers use it as well as urban dwellers.


Cocaine is a narcotic stimulant also known as coke, snow or flake.  It has become a very serious problem in the world today, people who use cocaine spend a substantial amount to do so, while the production and distribution of cocaine has attained billions of dollars with cartels and syndicates engaging in terrorism to have the drug reach the users.  Despite the effort of most world governments to curb its distribution and use, some still pass unnoticed to the consumers.

Cocaine is formerly used as an anaesthetic, but today it is rarely used for medical purposes.  It is whitish, like fine granules of sugar.

Cocaine’s activity in the body includes quickened pulse and circulation and restlessness.  It includes a feeling of confusion, anxiety and depression.  It also triggers paranoia, serious exhaustion, and hallucination as a result of heavy doses.

Users say cocaine is a great stimulant at infancy of usage, makes one feel on top of the world and capable of solving the problems of the world.  It is also claimed to free the individual from problems and it includes great success.  But the same users at the end agree that cocaine takes away freedom as one could end up in jail for its use, it also takes control of ones behaviour when the stimulation stage is over.  So that violence, insensitivity and unreasonableness take over.

Cocaine is said to take the heart our of a user body.  At the end, that is when dependence sets in, cocaine is no longer a stimulant but a problem.  Frustration sets in, glamour ebbs out and sometimes users have been known to commit suicide.

Some of the hazards of the drug are that the chronic use of cocaine can destroy nasal tissues, smoking it can cause lesions in the lungs; tolerance, physical and psychological dependence can develop; and the long – term effects of its use are unpredictable, convulsions, respiratory paralysis, cardiac seizures and death are always possible.

‘Crack’ or ‘rock’ is highly potent cocaine that has already been processed for smoking.  It is just as dangerous as other forms of cocaine and it is as well also extremely addictive.


Another category of psychoactive agents is the caffeine group.  These are mild stimulants which majority of people use daily without even recognizing their dangers.  Principal in this group includes Kola nut, Coffee, tea, and bitter kola.  Each of these natural products contains caffeine in substantial quantities and abuse of these can be very dangerous.  Students use them to stave off sleep, so they could read at night, while elders use kola nut for cultural activities all over Nigeria.  Eating kola nut for leisure is a strong norm especially in Hausa land.  It is therefore common to see young girls selling it.  Coffee and tea are also used especially as coffee black and drunk to stay wakeful and stimulated.

Some of their effects include increased alertness, nervousness, palpitation and sleeplessness.  These lead to a lot of problems which include agitation, (craving desire), habitation (increase in dosage), peptic ulcer, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.


There are countless other natural agents that are psychoactive in nature, which people take in order to feel “high”.  In some like zakami, zamarke, and ci-da- zugu, the seeds are swallowed, ground and taken to produce the desired effect.  Others like paw – paw leaves and zamalo are smoked.  All these produce effects that can sometimes be compared with that of marijuana.  In the olden days we can also remember ruwan tinya, and perfumes like lawanta and habanita.



Substance abuse sometimes leads to dependence and with that come a variety of consequences, especially but not only the individual. Whether soft or hard drugs, the implications are enormous.  Let us take a look at problem.

What Are the Criteria for Substance Abuse?

An individual can be said to be abusing drugs if he/she uses soft drugs (legal) without Doctor’s prescription, drugs like Valium, piriton, multivitamins, and antibiotics. He /she is abusing drugs if he/she is taking hard drugs (illegal) like cocaine, marijuana, heroin etc.

–         The individual indulges in recurrent substance use in situations, which endangers his life.  Like driving while drunk, operating dangerous machinery etc.

–         The individual will as a result of continuous use, fail to meet his role obligations at work, at school or at home.

–         The individual will continue to break the law and face legal action continuously, e.g. arrest for traffic offences, disorderly conduct etc.

–         The individual continues use of the substance despite having social problems, e.g. rejection by parents and relations, fighting with spouse, maltreating children et – cetera

When all these apply on an individual, he can be said to abuse drugs.  People who abuse drugs are in danger of dependence on those drugs as all the substance called drugs are psychoactive, meaning habit forming.

What Does It Mean To Be Substance Dependent?

When one becomes dependent on the use of a substance, he/she cannot do without such substance and can go to any length to acquire it.  The major indications of dependence on a substance include:

  1. Tolerance – if the users body becomes used to the substance, it will sooner than later demand more to offer the same service. If for example one takes one tablet of valium to sleep during the day so he could read in the night, there will come a time when he must use two tablets before his body will respond, and this continues until he takes such a large dose that becomes a serious medical problem for him.  It is important also to note that the drug’s effect keep diminishing with more use.
  2. Withdrawal Syndrome – a person who is dependent on a drug finds it extremely difficult to withdraw from the habit. Whenever he tries to quit or he is forced to quit his body will respond violently.  He will get very sick, be trembling, exhibit dryness, (dehydration) and other symptoms.
  3. Another point is the increase in the quantity of substance one consumes. This also tells on the resources of the substance dependent individual, and if he does not have the resources, he will find it by all means.
  4. A substance dependent person always thinks of quitting or cutting down, hoping that “this will be my last dose, I will stop next week, or after the examination” but is always unsuccessful.
  5. The substance dependent person spends a lot of time looking for and obtaining the substance. He could spend a long time driving, not doing any other productive work, and even when he successfully stops taking them, he spends a long time trying to recover from its negative effects.
  6. It can also be observed that important social, occupational or recreational activities like birthdays, gatherings, work hours, holidays etc cetera are given up or reduced considerably, as result of substance use.
  7. The person continues use of the substance despite knowledge of the problem involved e.g. those who take cocaine know it induces depression, those who take alcohol know that it causes liver and heart problems, and those who smoke know that it breeds tuberculosis.

The above listed items prove that substance dependence is an abnormal sickness, which must be avoided.  So what are the easiest signs to look out for when looking for substance dependent persons?

The Signs

  1. Possession of substance related items like rolling papers, pipes, and butane torches, small decongestant torches.
  2. Odor of substance – Alcohol smells terribly and even tom – tom, sweets or other cover up scents cannot mask its odor. Some others smoke cigarettes after smoking marijuana to cover up its odor.
  3. Some people are openly identified with the drug culture, the kind of magazines they read, the slogans they use, the conversation they prefer and even their jokes are on drugs and addicts.
  4. Drunkenness – The impact of the substance can give them away, for instance an alcohol always has slurred speech, he has difficulty in walking straight.
  5. Physical deterioration – An abuser of drug is bound to have memory lapses, and poor concentration as the sensori-motor co-ordination, which is the communication between the brain and the parts of the body becomes very weak and delayed. One also has unhealthy appearance and red eyes.
  6. Behavior changes – An abuser of drugs manifests violence, beating up those younger than them, destroying things at the slightest provocation, some even beat up their parents. They are also very secretive, their motivation and energy are grossly reduced, they sleep very long and abnormal hours, they are very dishonest and they are prone to accidents.
  7. Work/School Performance – The person loses interest in what he should be doing, absents himself for no reason, is not able to carry out his assignments and exams, and does this persistently.  At the end, he drops out of school or is retrenched from work.

From the beginning, how does one start taking these substances? What stage must one go through in order to be considered as drug dependent person?

The Stages

Primary Stage – This is the curiosity stage, most young people who take drugs do so as a result of curiosity.  When they do, the drug repulses some.   Alcohol is bitter and smells bad, marijuana and tobacco induce headache, so they drop it, while others still experiment further, probably due to peer pressure.  Mostly, the substance is given to the victim free.  He does not have to purchase it himself.

Secondary – When the experimenter continues use, the effects of tolerance of the drug will emerge and he will purchase his own drugs and subsequently establish and maintain his own supplies.  In this stage, the victim no longer feels shy to use the substance, especially tobacco and alcohol, which are accepted cultures in some parts of the country.  It graduates into abuse as some smoke up to a packet a day or more, or consume a whole carton of beer at one sitting.  Those who moke marijuana, do it mostly at social gathering of youths, football matches, parties, youth festivals, or in specific trades like Okada or express (commercial motorcyclists).

 Tertiary – This is the level of dependence, where the victim cannot do without the drug.  Labourers who use ICD or other performance enhancing drugs before they work must use it to work.  Otherwise they can’t.  The social consideration for the victim like job, family and even food becomes secondary.  The victim needs serious help or he loses his life or becomes mad.

 Why Do People Engage In Substance Abuse?

 Many explanations can be proffered on why someone would engage in substance abuse.  As noted earlier it never starts as an abuse, it grows into an abuse.  In fact most victims starts by having sincere intentions of a one-off use the substance but end up caged.

Some of these reasons include:

  1. Mental alertness – some drugs are taken by students to enable them read for exams. Drugs like E and P tablets are to deter one from sleeping so that one can study TDB – till daybreak.  Other drugs like Valium induce sleep so that one can use the time of wakefulness later for study.  Some students take Nescafe or kola nut for the same purpose. 
  1. Pleasure – When celebrating, people drink. This is referred to as ‘social drinking’ with the availability of free drinks, some people over-drink, and subsequently get hooked on alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes.  The same goes for kola nut.  In the present day, cocaine and heroin are consumed at high profile parties.  Some victims get initiated here. 
  1. Pain Relief – Manual laborers, who work long hours, resort to the use of analgesics, stronger ones subsequently. Primarily in order to relieve pain and aches related to their jobs.  This starts from the likes of panadol to panadol extra and it gradually translates into bigger drugs like ICD, which not only masks the pains but permits longer work hours, which ultimately means bigger pay packet, but gradually becomes a real big problem.
  1. Pressure – This can be either social, emotional or from one’s peers. In today’s life, stress has proven to be a major problem.  People take drugs in order to reduce its impacts.  Other problems like anxiety and frustration, also lead to drug abuse, for females there is anxiety about marriage, divorce, child bearing etc, frustration can come as a result of unemployment, ejection from accommodation, loss of spouse, parents et cetera.  Pressure can also come from peers who refuse to identify with a friend who does not engage in substance abuse.
  1. Sports – Sports men and women use different methods to enhance their performance in sports. Steroids are the drugs used to do this.  Some drugs mask pain, others enhance strength, others permit longer hours of activity.  At the end, all the methods lead to dependence and failure.
  1. Ignorance – it has been recorded that ignorance leads to drug abuse, some people believe it is safe, especially the therapeutic drugs like panadol Taking these without Doctors prescription can be dangerous. 
  1. Unbelief – Some just refuse to believe that a drug is dangerous.  Some youths decide to take marijuana and refuse to stop even in the face of advice.  They believe, people do not want them to enjoy their life, until they become mad or end up as thieves, armed robbers or thugs.
  1. Stubbornness – Some people are downright stubborn and will continue to use it even though they know and believe it is dangerous.

Other Factors that Lead To Drug Abuse

  1. The desire to succeed and achieve at all costs makes one to copy wrong traits.
  2. Social pathologies like unemployment and deprivation.
  3. The get rich quick syndrome.
  4. Mass media adverts on drugs
  5. Parents/siblings drug use habit.
  6. Open marketing of drugs.

How Are Drugs Taken?

–         Some drugs are ingested orally like those that are tablets, liquid or gaseous.  This includes alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana;

–         Some are injected into the blood stream through intravenous injections-this accounts for the 2nd major transmission route of HIV infection after sex.

–         Snorting and mucosal exposure-snuff, cocaine, heroin

–         Inhaling-sprays (aerosol) solution, blue, petrol etc.

            Major Terminal Point of Substances in the Body

All substances have negative impact on very important organs of the body.

  1. The Stomach – The stomach lining is destroyed by alcohol. That is why most drinkers end up getting ulcer.  All other drugs that are ingested orally like tablets also impact on the stomach.
  2. The nose – the lining of the nose is damaged by drugs that are sniffed like tobacco, cocaine and heroin.
  3. Eyes – Alcohol and most other drugs also effect the colour of the eye and ultimately impair eyesight. This also leads sometimes to blindness.
  4. Kidney – the kidney is poisoned by alcohol abuse. This leads to kidney failure, the kidney no longer performs its statutory function and the victim dies.
  5. Heart – weakness of the heart, heart attacks, high blood pressure, breathing problems, injected drugs enter the blood stream directly.
  6. Lungs – lung damage, lung cancer, bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia. These are caused by smoking of hemp, cigarettes, heroin etc.
  7. Brain – Drugs ultimately damage brain cells, the abuser exhibit trembling body, short memory and slow mental coordination, drugs lead to mental problems like psychosis, schizophrenia etc, in short madness.
  8. Liver – The liver, which is a store and detoxifier, finds it difficult to continuously digest alcohol and other drugs ultimately it develop symptoms like cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver cancer.
  9. Death – The body organ collapse at any time and that means sudden death from any of the mentioned drugs. It should be remembered that drug abuse could also cause death by taking more than the necessary dosage of the drugs.

Dangers of Self Medication

 Self – medication is widespread today.  Many people prefer to treat themselves for diseases that recur very frequently, like malaria, diarrhea, stomach ache, and body pain.  The ‘quine’ family is available any time for malaria as tetracycline, flagyl and buscopan are available for stomach related ailments.  Others do not treat themselves for diseases, but use the therapeutic drug for other purposes like physical strength for work, or for increased ‘macho’

The impact of all these translate into drug abuse.  These therapeutic drugs are meant to be prescribed by medical personnel.  They are not meant for personal use.  This abuse or misuse as other would prefer to call it is fraught with many dangers.  The drugs purchased may be fake, or expired, they can be inappropriately applied, there is a strong possibility of reaction on the user or even danger of overdose. There is also the issue of unqualified drug hawkers who may not even know a drug has expired.  Infact there could be a multitude of short and long term effects.  It has become common today for hospitals to make culture and sensitivity tests for a disease with more than ten drugs in vain.  This is because the body has grown resistant to the drugs and so a patient may die of any human infection.

The prevalence of this misuse extends to all sectors of society.

–         Prostitutes wrongly use ampicillin, ampiclox, and gentamycin as security against sexually transmitted infections.

–         Farmers and labourers use drugs like ICD, indocid, buta, seven powers, panadol extra etc.

–         Most other people use multivitamins, which they believe can be taken without any danger.  Others even mix drugs and take them together, drugs like indomethacin, paracetamol and buta, for pain relief and hallucination.

The Consequences of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse leads to a variety of consequences both to the individual and to the society. More often than not, people realize the dangers and drop the habit but others continue and end up dependent on such substances.  Whether the drugs are ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ the consequences of their misuse are grave and wide-ranging.

  1. Economic Loss – The society as a whole incurs huge financial loss as a result of substance abuse and its consequences of crime, mental derailment et cetera. Taxpayer’ money is used to finance special law enforcement.  In Nigeria, NDLEA and NAFDAC had to be set up and gulp millions of Naira every year.  Even trials and incarceration gulps a lot by the justice Ministry, the police and prison services.  Treatment, rehabilitation and other medical emergencies are another drainpipe.  Thousand of drug dependent people are treated and cared for at the society’s expense.  The countering of the associated negative social repercussions of the abuse or the effort to stem the flow of illegal drugs is enormous.  All the finances involved could have gone to building a road, another school, hospital or give employment for people in the society.
  2. Drug – Related Mortality – Every year, thousand of lives are lost to substance abuse. Alcohol has been known to account for a substantial number of deaths through vehicle accidents.  Infact, some reports have it that nearly half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related.  It is pertinent to mention also that substance overdose accounts for a substantial number of deaths every year.  Others die through sexually transmitted diseases especially those abusers that share needles.  They end up with HIV, which they spread to their colleagues.  Other abusers die of diseases, like tuberculosis, hepatitis and endocardiasis, suicide is another aspect of drug-abuse mortality, and many drug dependent people commit suicide at the slightest emotional depression.  Even murder had been exacerbated by drug abuse.  Armed robbers mostly abuse drugs before their operations in which they kill innocent people.  Others kill even their beloved wives, children, parents or friend because of the impact of drugs they abuse.  It has been reported how children get hold of automatic guns and open fire in classrooms killing their classmates and teachers or someone killing his whole household before killing himself. 
  1. Sexually risky practices – individuals who abuse drugs have the potential to indulge in sexually risky behavior especially alcohol abusers engage in unprotected sex and they are more likely to select high risk STD sex partners. Infact they are more likely to have sex with multiple partners. So the risk of getting an STD infection is very high, even higher is the danger of HIV infection, which can be spread faster by drug abusers. The cost of HIV/AIDS epidemic today is a societal burden that could have been transferred to a more productive use. Unwanted pregnancy could result from drug abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome in which babies are born deformed, miscarriages, restricted fetal growth, the threat of abortion and maternal and child mortality all have a strong impact on the society.
  1. Medical Complications – The health of a drug user is almost certainly at risk. The possibility of a substance abuser falling ill is very high.  Various substances that are inhaled, ingested, huffed, injected or smoked have dangerous consequences on various organs of the body.  The heart, liver, lungs, kidney, pancreas and others.  A full discussion on this can be found at ‘Their terminal points’, earlier in this chapter.
  1. Psychiatric and Neurological Impairments – A lot of people who abuse drugs end up as ‘mad’ or ‘ crazy’ people who parade the streets naked. A person known to have been intelligent who could have turned out very successful professional ends up sleeping on trash and living on dead animals and other unthinkable inedibles, his only companions being jeering children.  Substance abuse-related automobile accidents can also lead to paralysis. 
  1. Delinquency and Criminal Behavior – People who abuse drugs do not have regard for law, order and constituted authority. They also do not have regard for the rights of others.  When taking drugs crosses the threshold of common sense, every abuser can exhibit criminal tendencies.  The surge of armed banditry in Nigerian can be easily ascribed to the abundant supply of drugs and other substances.  People are no longer safe even to walk the major streets, because they could be mugged.  People sleep in cages to be safe from armed robbers, on the roads, when traveling, at home, when walking the pavements or even staying in one’s shop in the market, one is no longer safe.  The real culprit is the drug that permits these criminals to operate without sensitivity or fear.
  1. Impulsivity, Alienation and Psychological Distress – Any abuser subjects himself to being impulsive in his relations with others, he prefers to be secluded from the public and has to suffer from depression. This in itself could lead to dementia, which could in turn lead to suicide.
  1. Developmental Problems – the use of these substances could deter one from completing the tasks of adolescence and transiting into adulthood, a drug abuser cannot effectively date a partner, may never marry, because no one wants a substance dependent spouse. So one cannot consider fathering children in marriage and raising them.  Substance dependent persons cannot establish a career and cannot build rewarding personnel relationships.  Both his intellectual and emotional growth would have been hindered.



 (1)      A Total of 2781 arrests were made at the Nations ports of entry for Drug peddling offences. Over 318,000 kilograms of drugs were seized in the year 2001 alone, while 955 Traffickers were convicted in the year 2001 (NDLEA)

(2)      In 1989, there were 50,000 Drug Addicts In Nigeria.  These are untreated and un-rehabilitated.  The estimated figure for 2000 was 500,000. There is still no program for their treatment or their rehabilitation.

(3)      Cigarette brands were introduced in 1913, while links between smoking and cancer emerged in 1954. Alcoholism was declared a disease the same year. Links between smoking and various health problem were confirmed in the US.

(4)      Alcohol abuse caused 46% of illnesses, 21% of premature deaths, 12% of medical expenses of government, 11% of other cost due to fire, motor accidents, social welfare etc., 9% of crime administrative cost and 1% cost of special conditions which  include HIV AIDS. Smoking of Tobacco gulps 58% of Medical expenditure, 36% of premature deaths and 6% of illnesses. Drug abuse also gulps 7% of medical expenses, 16% of illnesses, 15% of deaths, 4% of special conditions and 58% of the direct cost of crime administration.(NDLEA)

(5)      In Nigeria, there are 21 doctors to 100,000 citizens. Therefore 49% of the population does not have access to health care facilities. This reflects in infant mortality. 114 in every 1000 live births, an under 5 mortality rate of 191 per 1000 of live births, maternal mortality rate is 1% of live births. Adult literacy rate is 57.1% among 15-24 age group, average illiteracy rate is 28.8%, 37.5% female and 18 .6% male. (UNDCP) 

Alcohol And Road Accidents: (FRSC)

  • Deaths as a result of drunken drivers average 100 per week
  • 8mg/100ml alcohol in the blood (approximately 2 bottles of beer) the risk of road accident is 10 times what it would be if there is no alcohol.
  • 12m/100ml of alcohol in the blood (3 bob) the risk of a road accident is 5 times what it would be otherwise.
  • In Norway, auto injury was 5 times higher in drivers who took diazepam alone or combined with alcohol than in alcohol- free drivers.
  • Marijuana has a strong carbon monoxide content, which is 3 times that of tobacco.
  • Deaths from road accidents in 1995 were 6771 and in 1996/7 it was 12,000.
  • Traffic fatalities per 1000 vehicles in Nigeria is about 3 times greater than in other African countries, and 60 times higher than European and American Countries.
  • 43, 668 people had road accident injuries in 96/97.
  • 1 out of 6 Drivers on the express is drunk
  • About 7000 of 1997 fatalities involve alcoholic drivers and alcoholic pedestrians, 40% could be diagnosed even before  the accident.
  • 3 out of 5 fatally   injured  drivers  had been drinking  and  60% of these had blood alcohol concentration above 0.19%.
  • Most accidents occurred during weekends, highest drinking period. (parties and ceremonies ) In  Britain, more than 500 deaths  and 25,000 injuries  a year are caused   by drinking drivers  or pedestrians.
  • In USA, more than 51% of all fatal motor accidents are caused  by drivers under the  influence of
  • Problem drinkers are increasing at the  rate of 250,000  per year.
  • In UK cost of Alcohol related accidents is 250 million pounds per year.
  • Other drugs/medications which impair driving  ability  include Anti -histamines, Depressants,  anti-depressants, Narcotic analgesics, psychoactive agents. Etc.
  • Heroin and Morphine lead  to highest rate of death from overdose than all other drugs. (NIDA)
  • In 1975, 12,000 deaths were as a result of Drug abuse (NIDA)
  • Barbiturates cause 18% of accident deaths and 6% of all suicides. (NIDA)
  • 86% Marijuana smokers drink  regularly  (NCD)
  • 55% of drug users combine sedatives with stimulants (NCD).
  • Amphetamine and  other drugs (Control ) Decree 1968 was repealed  by   Food and Drugs Act 1974, which  in turn was repealed by NAFDAC Decree .
  • Indian Hemp (Amdt.) Decree 34 of 1975, reduced penalties associated with the smoking  and unlawful   possession  of Indian Hemp. This resulted in significant increase in cases of drug offences.
  • Special Tribunal (Amdt) 1984-1986 abolished capital punishment but provides for  illicit  export –20  years or less buying  , selling , exposing for sale etc 14 Years – or less and  between  2-10 Yrs for drug
  • High rates of cannabis use were recorded  among drug  detainees 48% and for prison inmates 29% – UNDCP
  • For street children it is 20%, Secondary School Students, 7.4%, student in Tertiary institutions  6 % -UNDCP.
  • For Motor park touts. Cannabis use is 38%, commercial sex workers  27% and commercial  drivers 25%.
  • On cannabis, Lambo (1965) found 18 cases of drug abuse (mainly cannabis , out of a total  of 4000 cases treated at the  Neuropsychiatric   Hospital , Aro Abeokuta between  (1954-1959)
  • Asuni (1964) reported 13 cases of cannabis abusers out of 380 patients discharged from the psychiatric Hospital  Yaba in 1962. Other observations include.
  • Boroffka (1966) in Lagos, Oviasu (1976) in Benin and Odejide and Sanda (1976) in Ibadan .
  • The psychosocial correlates of Alcohol, cannabis and Tobacco use in Ilorin University, (Adelekan et al 1993) are peer influence, self reported poor mental health, religiosity, parental / guardian supervision, perceived availability   of substance, perceived harmfulness  of drug, male gender and self reported  difficulty with studies.
  • Adelekan et al (1991) reported that substance consumption among University students are; – Salicylate analgesics 78%, alcohol 42%, stimulants 35%, hypnosedatives 18% and cigarette 11%.
  • Abiodun et al (1992)  reported the substance consumption among secondary  school students  are ; – Salicylate analgesics 50% , alcohol 12%, stimulants 22% antibiotics  24% and  cigarette  4%

 –         Between 1993 and 1997, a total of 88, 174 accidents occurred on our roads.  Out of this, 30, 000 were fatal. NPF

–         During the same period, a total of 83, 948 people were injured from road accidents, while a total of 33, 997 people lost their lives. NPF

–         Also between 1993-1997 a total of 9,788 robbery cases occurred in Nigeria source – FOS.

A total of over four Million-Kilograms of cannabis has been destroyed in the operation Burn – The – Weed programme between 1994 and 1999 by the NDLEA.

–         High prevalence of the use of cannabis has been established for the following target groups: commercial sex workers, secondary school students, commercial drivers, tertiary school students, the unemployed and prison inmates.

–         As for benzodiazepines, patent medicine dealers, health care professionals, law enforcement agents and teachers are said to consume it mostly – UNDCP

–         Cannabis has also resulted in most hospital admissions in –Nigeria. The total is 1155 between 1994 – 99 while the highest age group for such admission is between 20 – 29, a total of 635! – UNDCP

–         Rural drug consumption is an average of about 45% of urban consumption.

–         Kano State has the highest Consumption rate for both cocaine and heroin, 37 and 127 respectively, out of a respondent population of 741 males, while the old Sokoto has the least with none! – UNDCP.

  • Drug related murders in the US have declined yearly from 1367 in 1990 to 564 in 1999. FBI-uniform crime reports
  • Drug induced deaths climbed steeply from 9463 in 1990 to 16,926 in 1998 – CDCP.
  • Drug related arrests have declined since 1997 in the United States from almost 1.6 million in 1997 to a little more than 1.5 million in 1999 – FBI – UCR.
  • Drug abuse violations and alcohol related arrests combined accounted for an estimated 31% of overall arrests in 1999 – UNDCP
  • In order to break the link between drugs and crime, the criminal justice system must work with treatment agencies to decrease the demand for illegal drugs by providing substance abusers with the skills to become clean & sober –ONDCP
  • Also in the US, the economic cost of drug abuse is on the increase yearly and in 1995 reached a peak of 110 billion dollars. NIDA and NIAAA
  • In 2001, Americans spent a whopping 64 billion dollars to purchase illegal drugs.



 Nigeria has been described as a major illicit drug and major money laundering country.  It is also seen as a country whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking.  This was contained in the International Narcotics Controls Board Report of 2001 – a publication of the US State of Department.

To a large extent, the chicken – egg relationship applies to drugs and crime.  Some believe that the proliferation of crime is a result of the availability and use of drugs.  It is also believed that drugs came as a result of crime, criminals need something to charge themselves with before their operations.

However, the focus of our discussion relates to how drugs impact on the commission of crime.  For the purpose of this work, crime will be discussed from two perspectives:

  1. International Crime
  2. Local Crime

The International crime refers to the crimes committed across international borders.  Since we are referring to the drug crime, we then by extension mean the trafficking of drugs as a criminal activity and money laundering.

Drug trafficking is the movement of drugs from one country to another with the purpose of distribution and subsequent sale to consumers from a drug producing country to a drug consuming country sometimes via a transit country.

The drug barons, their paramilitary forces, organizers, couriers and nocturnal sales outlets form the body of drug traffickers.  As a multimillion-dollar business, drug trafficking attracts its staff very easily, what with unemployment and poverty all over the place.  The couriers are the ones we hear about every so often, arrested at airports or seaports and Seizures of hard drugs made from them.  Thousands of these couriers are in jail in Nigeria and almost all countries of the world.

It has been confirmed that 20% of women in British prisons are Nigerians who were arrested either as couriers or as peddlers, while in holloway prisons alone, 50% of women are Nigerians.  In 1994, 50 million pounds worth of drugs were seized at Heathrow Airport in London.  The same statistics exist for many countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas.  The condition of these jailed Nigerians is pathetic.  Once they are arrested, they refuse to make contact with their families back in Nigeria, for the shame it involves.  They remain there until the expiration of their jail terms before coming home.  While in jail, some of them deliver babies and some are arrested with children, which ultimately have to be taken to foster homes.  Sometimes, the parents or children die.  If the parents die, the children end up without family and grow up with no roots back in Nigeria.  It is a sad picture indeed.  Government in Nigeria has shown a lot of concern for the notoriety of its citizens in the drug trade.  It has decreed that any drug trafficker jailed abroad will return home for the second leg of his prison sentence in Nigeria from a minimum of five years.  Before that law came into being, which has been referred to as double jeopardy, pictures of convicts in foreign jails were produced in posters and advertised in Newspapers and Magazines to deter new entrants.  All these, coupled with other stringent measures initiated by the NDLEA have gone a long way in reducing the tempo of drug peddling.

The humiliation Nigerians undergo at foreign Airports is a result of this scenario.  An eighty-year-old man in subjected to a dehumanizing search; same goes for a baby of a few months.  This is because, there are times when arrests are made of people who ingest drugs sometimes up to 50 sachets, or capsules of cocaine or heroin, by children, or old people, at other times dead bodies are ripped open and loaded with drugs.  Holy books have been torn in order to load drugs in them.  Infact some couriers have died due to the leaking of the drugs in their bodies and so – on and so forth.  The truth is, we cannot blame the countries for treating us bad, and we should rather do something to stop our citizens from spoiling our good name everywhere.  There are thousands of Nigerians doing legitimate business all over the world; others are University lecturers, Doctors, Engineers and the like.  These people and tourists who feel wealthy enough to take their families for a treat abroad are the subject of these insults.

The drug trade has blossomed over the years and Nigerian criminal barons have established firmly in the producing countries, the transit countries and the consuming countries to manage what to them is legitimate business. The producing states are Bolivia, Columbia and Peru for cocaine.  While opium, comes from what is known as ‘the golden triangle’ of Burma, Thailand and Laos, and the ‘Golden crescent’ of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Nigerians have a transit country in Nigeria to bring the drugs in, and re-direct them to other consumer countries.  This is because, the consumer countries had targeted the producers, and had put stringent checks on whatever comes from them.  The traffickers are reported to have resorted to even more complex routes using fake and multiple documents as well as multiple couriers.

Other ways of trafficking include the use of postal services and couriers services which are mailed as mail-parcels from one end but carry drugs which are comfortably received without hassle at the other end.  NIPOST is now more conscious and greatly assisting in this regard.

The NDLEA has been trying very hard to arrest the situation, and they have succeeded to a large extent, as today their efforts have resulted in the increased use of the neighboring cities and countries, rather than Nigerian cities.

It is also noteworthy that drug barons involve themselves in narco-terrorism in order to fight law enforcement agencies or their competitors.  Sometime they apply terrorism just to instill group discipline among their members.  They have their Para-military fighting units, well equipped with modern weapons and drugged enough to be inhuman and insensitive.  Drug trade is a monster.  Sometimes they sponsor candidates for elections in some countries so that their activities can be allowed to flourish unhindered, where they succeed, narcocracies are established.

Drug trafficking cartels exist in many countries, and because of their existence, other crimes of international dimension proliferated.  The principal among these is money laundering, which the drug dealers have applied in order to ‘cleanse’ the drug money, legalize and then use it.  Another is prostitution; most of the prostitutes of Nigerian origin that are found in other countries were usually taken there with drug money.  It is noteworthy that a lot of these prostitutes are forced to use drugs, and some even end up as street peddlers of drugs.

Among the illicit international trades associated with trafficking of drugs is smuggling which by itself is a serious crime.   Another is forgery, most of the passports used by couriers and the visas on them are forged.  That explains why the courier can travel with more than one passport at any given time.  Another is the advance fee fraud, which has been fingered to source money to start a drug trafficking/trade.  Yet another is credit card fraud.  This last problem has forced European banking system to subject Nigerians to weird enquiries before opening an account for them.

The fact remains that any country that allows itself to be used for the trafficking of drugs will ultimately be disenfranchised by the international community, especially by countries that suffer most from the problem.  Our erstwhile decertification by the U.S. is a result of this precedence.  Certification is a potent weapon used by the U.S. to ensure that governments abide by the provisions of UN conventions.  As the strongest country in the world, with veto power at the United Nations Security Council, and a huge, vulnerable population, the country through its financial assistance act empowers its president to

“Certify annually” that each major drug producing or transmit country has cooperated fully or has taken adequate steps to meet the goals of the UN drug convention of 1988, including rooting out public corruption.  Any country that falls short of this act will lose military and development assistance and a ‘no’ vote on loans in six multilateral development banks”

So far, the Nigerian government has shown strong political will in this regard.  An Anti-Corruption Commission was set up with wide ranging powers to checkmate corruption in public life, another effort is the support of Act 33, 1990 that was described as double jeopardy for drug traffickers. The Act provides that they spend an extra five years in jail (minimum) on their return from jail sentences abroad. In November of 2000, four fugitives were extradited to U.S. by the federal government to face narcotic-related charges. Two of these have been on the U.S. presidents list of significant foreign narcotic traffickers.

Because of the position Nigeria has found herself, in negative light, it has over the years also cooperated with various other countries in order to control the drug crime.  She has signed memorandum of understanding with other countries sharing the same problem.  These include; Uganda, U.S.A, Russia Iran, Britain etc.   Nigeria is also involved in a joint task force with USDEA to assist each other in the area of sharing of information between them and NDLEA on drug offenders to expedite arrests. The  USDEA is also helping  NDLEA  in developing competence in drug and drug related money laundering investigations.

The UN international drug control program (UNDCP) resident in Nigeria has done a lot and still doing more.  So far, hundreds of thousands of US Dollars has been spent by the organization to assist NGO’s in executing their programs in fighting drug abuse and rehabilitating it victims.  It has also helped NDLEA and NAFDAC to strengthen their capacity, and execute their mandates better.


Drug traffickers and other criminals of international disrepute; launder the proceeds of their illegal activities in order to spend them legally.  Money laundering is used to disguise the origins of these illegal moneys.  Drug trafficking, a very lucrative venture has embraced money laundering and perfected it through the following stages.

  1. Placement – This involves the placing of these funds into financial institutions through deposits and transfers.
  2. Layering – They also layer the transactions one over another, until the original source is missing.
  • Integration – This is when illegal funds finally lose their original background and become legal.

In Nigeria, many car dealers, high tech equipment dealers, electronic dealers have been fingered for drug dealings.  All these may still be benign but in other countries, these funds provide fuel for terrorists, illegal arms deals, high profile corruption and other crimes to operate and expand.

Money laundering is also carried out through currency exchange houses, stock brokerage houses, gold dealers, casinos, automobile dealership, insurance companies and trading companies.  Money launderers invest where their businesses are less likely to be detected rather than where they will make profit.

As a result of the preponderance of money laundering, Heads of States and Government of G7 in July 1989 set up the Financial Action Task force to tackle financial aspects of drug trafficking.  It is also to assess the results of cooperation already undertaken in order to prevent the utilization of the banking system and financial institutions for the purposes of money laundering and to consider additional preventive efforts in this field including the adaptation of legal and regulatory systems so as to enhance multilateral judicial assistance.  In West Africa, as in other regions, an Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA) was established just five months after FATF in order to actualize its statutes.


The production, trafficking, distribution, abuse and control of drugs are associated with many problems, political, social, economic and health.

  1. Production, trafficking and distribution of illicit drugs lead to the employment of violence to protect the trade against law enforcement agents, competitors and to discipline members. It also leads to terrorism which has now been tagged narco-terrorism which could be used to intimidate people into electing narco-cratic governments (government of drug barons for drug barons)
  2. Drug trade is associated with extremely large profits which is laundered into economy, this has serious negative repercussions as it distorts economic and development planning and leads to ultimate devaluation of currency and failure of monetary policies leaving the national economy in the doldrums.
  3. The problem causes loss of social and mental competence in the society, family disintegration, neighborhood and community disorganization, spread of diseases.
  4. Diversion of resources from productive and social development sector to law enforcement, security, medical and rehabilitation and justice identified with drug trafficking and abuse.
  5. Trafficking and distribution helps breed bribery and corruption in high places, which ultimately affects the implementation of policy.
  6. Nigerian citizens are constantly harassed and subjected to uncivilized searches on their persons whenever they leave their country. That comes after scaling the hurdle of visa application.


Crime was seen by some researchers in terms of its being conventional or unconventional.  The latter covers what today we refer to as international crime, crimes like drug trafficking, advance fee fraud, smuggling, money laundering and so forth.  While the former are mostly carried out against the laws of only one country.

Conventional crimes are broken into crimes of violence and acquisitive crimes.  Both crimes are exacerbated by the use of drugs; others include crimes against public order and crime against moral mores.

Crimes of violence require some kind of drug support in order to take place.  Virtually every armed robber uses drugs, these drugs give the criminals the hallucinogenic, stimulating back-up to destroy with insensitivity.

Drugs are surrounded by crime.  Their cultivation is crime, their manufacture or processing is crime, their transportation is crime, their distribution is crime and their consumption is crime.  At each stage, one could get jail sentences.  Beyond that, there is something in drugs that make users indulge in crime.  Principally, drugs affect the mood, thought and feeling of users.  The mood of the user can be unnaturally happy or sad which may ultimately affect his relationship with others.  It can affect his thoughts and relate to him that such a thing that he desires is attainable through use of brute force e.g. a woman he wants.  His feelings can be affected in such a way that the person he loves can become an object of hatred and harm and so forth.  These three areas lead the users decision and outlook to be warped and consequently he indulges in actions, which ultimately may be anti-social or even criminal.

Another perspective is that of affordability of the drugs.  Most drugs are not cheap and people who use them gradually become less productive.  Consequently, they come to a stage where they can no longer afford the drugs.  But because of its psychoactive nature they cannot stop it, so they create other ways of getting easy money to sustain the habit.  Pilfering and theft graduate into robbery or misappropriation.

Crimes against public order, like prostitution, drunk driving which leads to traffic violations or accidents, secret cult are all shrouded in the cloak of drug use.  Others like hired assassins and thugs are known to use drugs.  It is then important to note that a significant percentage of the criminal cases we have daily are a result of drug use and a lot of more as a consequence of the drug trade.  People from all classes use drugs male or female, the rich and poor, young and old et cetera.

It is very pertinent to note that drugs fuel the activities of thugs and groups of destructive youths who go by different names; area boys in the south, ‘yan daba in the north.  Their existence to a large extent is a result of a complex of dynamics of socio economic depravation and challenges faced by the youth of sprawling urban centres and large cities.  The coercion, persuasive requests, the petty crimes, and sometimes violent offences by these youths to acquire resources in the generally over crowded areas of the city and even on traffic jammed expressways and streets has become an unending problem.  The drugs used by these youths are mostly inhalants as they cannot afford hard drugs.  They only get to use hard drugs as they progress in the trade; most of them end up later as armed robbers.  Some of them have become sadists and rapists who maim their victims for minor reasons.  Drugs are the main fuel for their delinquent and subsequent criminal activity.  These children start taking drug at very tender ages of 7-8 years old and graduate to other serious drugs as they grow.

Other groups whose activities are closely associated with drugs are the secret cults.  it is generally believed that many higher institutions of learning in Nigeria have the problem.  It is believed about forty-one (41) cult groups exist in Nigerian institution of higher learning.  They are shrouded in secrecy and are only manifested after arrests at initiations or after incidences of violence in which many Nigerian students have lost their lives over time.


Another aspect of crime, which is exacerbated by drugs, is intimate violence.  This involves the abuse of wives, children, house helps, boy friend – girl friends etc.  Intimate violence can take the form of murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery and other forms of assaults.

Many drug abusers have taken to intimate violence as a form of catharsis.  People who drink alcohol, cannabis, cocaine or heroin especially have turned violent after taking the substances; it is generally believed that it affects the moods, thoughts and feelings of a person.  The drugs sometimes depress the user and make him feel rejected and unloved by his spouse.  At other times his children are seen as disrespecting him because of his behaviour.  At extreme instances, men who abuse drugs are reported to rape their daughters and house girls and sodomize their sons.  Many wives have fallen victim of acid attacks by their husbands, especially when they threaten to leave.  Many others have been killed.  Infact there are reports of whole families being killed by the drug victim, while he also kills himself afterwards.  Suicide is a common crime associated with drug abuse.

Drug abuse has also led to breakage of marriages, and there are reports that women, who are left with the burden of child bearing, end up using drugs themselves to drown the weight of the problems associated with the responsibility.  Sometimes, they meet with undesirable elements and join mainstream crime or become drug dependent.  Intimate violence then is a direct consequence of drug abuse.

Our societies must ensure that the problem of drugs is rooted out completely; otherwise, we will at one time pay back by witnessing terror and insecurity amongst ourselves.  The preponderance of arson, thuggery, gangsterism, armed banditry and wanton looting coupled with the prevalent ethnic and religious upheavals will to a large extent be seen as the result of drug abuse.



Various organizations saddled with responsibility on the drug cause have done a lot to convince people not to get involved with dangerous substances.  Public Enlightenment is one such method, and there is no better way to enlighten than by pictures.  Living pictures, each of which tells a full story.  A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words.

Attractive pictures are by far the fastest means of communication especially among youths.  Youths are the same everywhere.  A youth in the US relishes pictures as well as that of Nigeria.  There is therefore a great need to review the sketch posters being employed by the enlightenment agencies.  It is not out of place to relate the behaviour of Nigerian youths in their appreciation of music, fashion and the drug culture, it therefore follows that as much as we believe our youth are not well exposed, they have taken full advantage of the communication explosion which has made the world a global village.

The following pictures are the particular efforts of some websites maintained by the UNDCP – office of National Drug Control Program of the United States Government.  The websites include: www.mediacampaign.or;; www.theantidrug.comm. Please relish the messages and take heed.



It is instructive to note that religion abhors taking substances which can intoxicate, and which can lead to people losing their sense.  The prominent religions that are followed in Nigeria are Islam and Christianity, and they both say no to drugs.

Islam and Drugs

During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet [SAW], the only intoxicants available where the alcohol-type.  The modern day cocaine, heroin and the arrival of synthetic drugs are a new introduction to which Modern Jurists have to give a modern definition in Islam.  Some of these drugs are appearing well over a thousand years after Hijra.

The Holy Quran strictly prohibits all intoxicants in chapter 5vs 90-91. Allah said:

O you who believe! Truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan’s doing.  Avoid it in order that you might be successful.  Assuredly Satan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you with intoxicants and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from salat.  Will you not then desist?”

It is clear that the verses speak on the negative impact of intoxicants as the breaking of relationship and ensuring enmity and hatred in addition to the harm they do to man’s soul by causing him to neglect his religious obligations.

Prophet Muhammad himself has made statements, which can refer directly to substances of abuse, rather than only alcohol.  In the following hadith [tradition] The Prophet has taken further elucidation to the above-mentioned verses of the Holy Quran.

“Every intoxicant is Khamr and every Khamr is haram’ [prohibited] –reported by Muslim.

‘Of that, which intoxicates in a large amount, a small amount is haram.[Prohibited]” Ahmed, Abu Daoud, Tirmidhi

“If a bucket intoxicates, a sip of it is haram”        Ahmed, Abu Daoud, Tirmidhi.

The rightly guide caliphs that took over after the demise of the Holy Prophet also acted in like manner.  Umar bn Khattab, the 3rd caliph of Islam said from the pulpit of the Holy Prophet;

“Khamr is that which befogs the mind”. Reported by Bukhari and Muslim.

“Truly, Allah has cursed Khamr and has cursed the one who produces it, the one for whom is produced, the one who drinks it, the one who serves it, the one who carries it, the one for whom it is carried, the one who sells it, the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought.” Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja.

“Whoever believes in Allah and last day must not sit at a table at which Khamr is consumed.”          Ahmed and Tirmidhi.

Umar bn Abdulaziz, a renown 2nd generation caliph of Islam ordered the flogging of people who were at a drinking party, but were not drinking; one of them was even fasting, but was flogged.  Umar’s reason?

And he has revealed to you in the book that when you hear the revelation of Allah rejected and mocked, you are not to sit with them until they turn to some other theme, for if you do so, you will be like them…” [Quran 4:140].

Alcohol not a medicine

Some people are of the belief that intoxicants may have some medicinal value and can therefore be taken as medicine.  The prophet of Islam had said in relation of this;

‘It is not a medicine but a disease’ reported by Muslim, Abu Daoud, Ahmed and Tirmidhi.

‘Allah has sent down the disease and the cure, and for every disease there is a cure, so take medicine but do not use anything haram as medicine’ – Abu Daoud

Ibu Mas’ ud said – Allah has not made a cure for you in what he has prohibited to you.

Other Drugs.

Umar bn Khattab had said ‘Khamr’ is what befogs the mind.

Therefore, Allah and his messengers prohibit any substance, which has the effect of befogging or beclouding the mind, impairing its faculties of thought, perception and discernment.  This covers marijuana, cocaine, opium and other psychoactive and psychotropic substances.  Earlier Muslim jurists were unanimous in prohibiting those drugs, which were found during their time.  Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was one such example. He had said.

“The solid grass (hashish) is haram, whether or not it produces intoxication.  Sinful people smoke it because they find that it produces rupture and delight, an effect similar to drunkenness.  While wine makes the one who drinks it active and quarrelsome, hashish produces dullness and lethargy; furthermore, smoking it disturbs the mind and temperament, excites sexual desire and leads to shameless promiscuity and these are greater evils than those caused by drinking.  The punishment for smoking hashish, a small or large amount of it, is the same as that for drinking wine, that is eighty or forty lashes’  Fatwa Ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 4p.262f.

A general rule of shariah is that it is haram for the Muslim to eat or drink anything, which may cause his death, either quickly or gradually, such as poisons, or substances, which are injurious to health or harmful to the body.  As Allah [SWT] has said in 4:29.

And do not kill yourselves, indeed, Allah is ever merciful to you”

And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands [2:195].  These are clear evidences for the prohibition of all psychoactive and psychotropic substances in Islam and the stipulated punishment in the shariah for anyone who drinks alcohol is eighty lashes.

Christianity and Drugs

Though there is no mention of specific alcoholic drink and tobacco in the Bible, God’s view on the issue are clear enough.  We have wine and strong drinks as well as intoxication forbidden in the bible.  The following bible passages specifically forbid priests from drinking wine and strong drink.

Leviticus 10:9, Numbers 6:3, Ezekiel 44:21, Luke 1:15.  As children of God, obedience is very important in our relationship with God (Deuteronomy 8:2.)  The attributes of a drunkard are given as woe, sorrow, contention, babbling, wounds without cause and redness of eyes (Proverbs 32:29-31).  The same bible passage went on to say that wine in the end “biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder”.  Proverbs 23:32, “wine and strong drinks are not for Kings and Princes”.  Proverbs 31:4 and 5 “But it is for those that are ready to perish”.  Proverbs 31:6.  “Love of wine is an invitation to poverty”.  Proverbs 21:17 why then should somebody in his/her right senses inflict all such horrible things on himself/herself.

Furthermore, the bible places a curse on those who follow strong drink Isa 5:11,22, Isa 28:1,3-7.  That is why we are admonished not to be “drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but to be filled with the spirit”.  Ephesians 5:18, intoxication can lead to all sorts of vices as we have copious examples in the bible, some of which are Noah in Gen. 9:21, the incident led to the curse Noah put on the children of Ham, Gen. 9:25.  Lot in Gen. 19:32-35 committed incest with his own daughters under the influence of strong drink.  Absalom was able to revenge the defilement of his sister on Ammon after making him (Ammon) drunk, 11 Samuel 13:28and 29.

Medically, it has been proved that cigarette smoking is injurious to health.  Anybody who smokes does not love himself and two great commandments, which cover all the others, are to love God with all our hearts and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Luke 10:27, it can therefore be inferred that God wants us to love ourselves.  Anybody who loves himself would cherish his body, as our bodies are the temple of God and we are not to defile ourselves with cigarette as the bible says “if any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” 1 Corinthians 3:16&17.  God wants us to prosper and be in good health, even as our soul prospereth 3 John 2.  Anything, cigarette inclusive, that hinders our good health is not the will of God for us.

It is imperative therefore, for all to ensure that young people are not exposed to any intoxicant or any drug that can ruin their lives and are not exposed to any intoxicant or any drug that can ruin their lives and stop them from fulfilling the purposes for which they were created.  Parents must ensure good upbringing, teachers must ensure good training and the society, as a whole must check excesses in children and reward good behavior.  The society must also as part of its responsibility check wanton advertising of all drugs, the following passages from bible are a reference point.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

‘A child left to himself brings shame to his mother’-Proverbs 29:15.

Scholars have cited the following as some of the factors that lead children into drug abuse and other bad behaviors;

Bad lifestyle of parents, sparing the rod, lack of adequate time for children, parents disagreement, unchecked curiosity of children, unhealthy comparison with other children, showing favoritism, inadequate provision, misapplication of reward and punishment, use of force instead of dialogue.



Substance abuse in Nigeria has attained epic proportions and therefore calls for urgent measures to forestall imminent epidemic. This can be done through:

(a)      Primary prevention in which all stake holders must participate,

(b)     Secondary prevention in which government through its law enforcement and medical institution must reduce the impact of the problem, and

(c)      Tertiary prevention in which government must help to treat and rehabilitate former dependents and put them into the community for necessary reintegration.


Primary prevention strategy has a better chance of success because:

(a)      It targets the underlying causes of drug use and therefore has the greatest chance of success.

(b)     Over time, it will reduce the need for drug treatment which is in short supply and

(c)      Media campaign has more potential to affirm the anti-drug attitude of non- starters than to change the abuser.

The primary strategy is an admixture of moves by the stakeholders severally and collectively to checkmate abuse and dependence, they are therefore generally targeted at young people.

Government has a large role to play thus:

  1. There is urgent need to sponsor studies on drug use and abuse in order to aid its policy formulation and be able to better direct control and prevention programs.
  2. There is need to expand economic opportunities and social welfare services like jobs, shelter, social security among the populace and entrench a child welfare initiative which will solve the problem of street children ab-initio.
  3. A preventive drug education must be embarked upon to enhance public enlightenment through a school based strategy that target peer groups, teachers and parents through PTA; the programme must also aim to curtail cult activities, National Anti-Drug Campaign which is sponsored every year, can include in its schedule, sponsoring of athletics and drug free sports.  26th June of every year has been set aside as drug free day.
  4. Releasing adequate subvention to regulatory bodies and licensing authorities to ensure success in compliance with government provisions on drug manufacture, distribution/ sale/ advertising use and abuse of illicit drugs. These organisations include- NMDA, PCN, NAFDAC, APCON and so on. Presently, they are operating under harsh environments and are always cash – strapped.
  5. Empower NDLEA with more funds and training to enforce the law on the sale/ purchase, use and abuse of illicit substances and strengthen intelligence activities to access more offenders.
  6. National Media Campaign to bring to the attention of the whole nation the epidemic nature of the drug problem and put clear, short but pungent massages to warn the populace on the dangers of involvement in drugs. Special television and radio programs especially drama, movies, music must be produced to draw attention. Print media like Newspapers and magazines, cartoon strips must to appropriately designed and widely produced. Bill boards and signboards must carry large portraits that warn on drug abuse. The Internet must also be used. Today a large number of enlightened youths have access to the Internet both at home or at cyber cafes, special websites can be created for Nigeria youths to communicate with government counselors and read about trends and dangers on-line. Youths must also be informed that they could go to jail for using drugs. Small media like calendars, posters, handbills and stickers must be supplied in droves to people especially commercial sex workers, manual labourers, drivers, school children, project workers and civil servants. APCON must ban adverts on illicit substances, which inundate our hearing from radio stations, billboards and also newspapers. They should then advertise dangers of all substances on such publications and boards. Presently tobacco adverts have been banned. APCON can design anti-drug campaign and advertise them as its own societal responsibility on drug abuse.
  7. All potentially dangerous substances must carry serious warnings on their containers as done with cigarettes.  The smokers are liable to die young statement is very crucial.  Alcohol bottles too must contain alcohol is dangerous to your well being so must pressurized containers of solvents, solvents can kill instantly or other warnings must be inscribed.
  8. Destruction of drugs: there is need to improve on the sighting and destruction of cannabis farms, which abound all over Nigeria. Thousand of hectares of farmland that grow cannabis have been located and destroyed. Surveillance aircraft must be provided to the NDLEA to be able to scan more areas. Also of importance is the large cache of drugs regularly seized at ports of entry into Nigeria made up of cocaine, heroine and others, including therapeutic but illegal pharmaceutical drugs. Government should continue with the destruction of such drugs and expedite action in doing so to avoid it getting into the wrong hands.
  9. Law Enforcement- Government should widen its dragnet and arrest youths who use dangerous drugs in public and use intelligence information obtained from such arrest to trace back the origin of all drugs in circulation. This should not be difficult as every user has a supply chain leading back to the importer or producer. Government must therefore be more committed by providing the needs of the enforcement agency NDLEA.
  10. Establishment of research institutes to ensure continuity in research efforts that will regularly feed government with information for the formulation of policy. These institutes will serve as drug clearing house in the country where all information concerning drugs can be accessed. Today only CRISA helps in this regard

Community Role

Government cannot work in isolation; it does not have the resources to do so anyway. That is why the society must participate if the drug problem is to be solved once and for all.

  1. The role of parents- parents exert a critical influence on their children especially young ones, so parents must talk to their children about dangerous hurdles they will have to cross in their transition to adulthood: sex, drugs, crimes, etc. Children who have the confidence of their parents hardly fail. Parents must put their foot down about bad friends, bedtime, high school performance, etc. They must also make time to go out together and share intimacy. This will enable parents to know their friends, their best and weak spots and so on, and advise accordingly. Parents in themselves, are an anti-drug, through the four-way route: Truth, Communication Love And Honesty, every parent will have full control and confidence of his child or ward and therefore ward them off drugs. The danger of refusing to do this is that the peer group will take over the responsibility, it all depends whether they are good or bad friends. The rest is conclusive.
  2. The Risk Factors- the predisposing factors to drug abuse at early childhood include parent criminality and substance abuse, low verbal ability, social disorganization, violence in neighbourhood, poor family management practices, inconsistency or harsh parenting, low socio-economic status exposure to media violence and many others. The society that has preponderance of these factors is sure to have among others a drug problem. Internal management mechanisms must be employed by communities to solve internal problems.
  3. Child welfare- the issue of street children, area boys, beggars, child hawkers, child prostitutes, and child labourers are all a sign of the moral degeneration of a society. The preponderance of these issues goes a long way to describe its drug use pattern. Societies therefore must not allow change to overtake them rather they should initiate change to serve their own communal good. The above- mentioned social problems must be focused, addressed and if possible reversed by the society.
  4. Religion’s effort – most religions preach good parenting, good child training, no drug use, respect for elders even if they are not relations and many other positive traits. This then becomes a clear job for religious clerics who must preach against drug abuse, but they must also be fully briefed on the dangers of all substances from the perspective of modern research. Preaching sessions to parents and children at social gatherings and special session have become necessary.
  5. Local coalitions of CBOs, peer groups, age grades etc can help to change attitude, positive peer pressure must be the baseline for these activities, mates can check themselves and deal with strays in their own way. When this fails, the society can punish offenders before it gets out of hand, in which case it goes to the police.
  6. Individual youths must create for themselves a pastime that will serve as an anti-drug. Some youths write poetry or stories, others draw; yet others are very religious, others engage in sports and so forth. Every young person must set a challenge for himself, which he must pursue to occupy his spare time. And make it a habit to preach against drug abuse.

NGO Roles

Non-Governmental organizations are organized parts of a society, as they come to being to support and complement government actions or inaction. In the area of the drug problem, NGOs have sprung up as Drug- free Associations, research groups and advocacy outlets. Their main mode of operation is advocacy, that is the creation of awareness among non-drug users, high-risk groups, or even users. They conduct seminars, workshops and symposia; they visit schools, markets parks and other places to speak about the dangers of drug abuse. They sometimes organize shows, musicals, drama, beauty contests and games, all in order to draw attention to the ravages of drug abuse.

In considering their efforts, NGOs must continue to get finances from philanthropic individuals, national and international donor agencies to sponsor these events. Most of their campaigns end up successful. NGO activities therefore should be supported more as they contribute a huge quota in the fight against drug abuse.


At this stage, warnings and advice have failed or have not been given, one has fallen victim to the drug problem and is now a regular user, so a different strategy must be employed to deal with this problem.

  1. Early identification- whether the government or the society noticed first, the early identification of a drug user is very important. If it is by government, he should be reprimanded according to law. This will dissuade an early starter. If it is the society, he should be taken to a counselor and forced to go through counseling sessions. If the habit has been formed beyond counseling, he should be referred for treatment.

ii    Government input – Drugs take a huge toll on health, welfare, safety, security and economic stability, which are all principally the responsibility of government.

  1. Supply Reduction-Government must ensure as a prevention strategy that it cut the bridge and the supply contacts for the drugs- traffickers, manufacturers, distributors, couriers, retailers and users. The chain is what gets the drug supply going government should cut it. Information can be obtained by interrogating arrested drug users. NDLEA has been doing a swell job in this regard.
  2. Demand reduction –public awareness is the best way to deal with this problem, the organs of government responsible for this should be fully employed and equipped. The federal information centers in the State and the State ministries of information are ready tools for the NDLEA They can go out into the villages and towns and employ the use of their cinema, public address gathering and so on to pass the packaged information. Another effort can come through law enforcement.  Better still, government can set up a new civilian agency to tackle the problem of drug demand.  Already there are those who feel uniformed men should not be the ones to preach the anti drug abuse theory.
  3. Harm Reduction- As efforts are made towards total eradication of the drug problem, there is need to minimize the harm caused by drugs both to the users and to the society. These include infection, violence, crime, mortality, and morbidity. The best way to achieve this is to extend services to them. Harm reduction centers can be opened all over the country to offer specialized information and counselling to drug users.  They can also offer specialized services like needle exchanges for drug injection victims.  It can also embark on the sale of some drugs, which might lead to violence in obtaining them.


At the final level of drug abuse, the problem can still be helped. This final stage deals mostly with persons who have become dependent, for who there are hardly any possibility of retreat at least on their own as a result of the withdrawal syndrome. So they are taken to a hospital where they are gradually helped to stop the habit. Both society and government must work together at this stage. Government providing the treatment while the society ensures follow-up. Government must also provide for rehabilitation of the treated cases, offer vocational training or employment while the society ensure the reintegration of the victim and de-stigmatization of treated substance- dependent persons. At a much later time the treated person can be used in offering lectures to young people about substance abuse.


Many people today look neat, smart and healthy.   They work in high government offices, corporate organizations and businesses, but they are really substance – dependents. Some of them are alcoholics, other live on psychotropic drugs everyday, yet others are hooked on marijuana, cocaine, heroin or tobacco. These people are aware that they have a problem and are willing to undergo some kind of treatment. But none would agree to go to a psychiatric hospital because of the stigma attached to it.  These are not mad people, they are just sick.

These people live with their problem until it leads to a more serious complication, like madness or death. This then calls for the need for government to open treatment centres for the substance – dependent persons in Nigeria.  Presently, only a few private efforts are available and they are either too expensive or too far-flung.


All countries of the world must go one step further than their present efforts by enacting harsher penalties for trafficking of drugs and must ensure the apprehension of drug couriers at all ports of entry. There must also be trans-border co-operation between countries of close proximity and technical cooperation between developed and developing nations and between countries that have an interlinked interest in the problem. For example drug producing nations and drug consuming nations and/ or transit countries.

Some international organizations are helping developing countries to meet the scourge. UNODCCP, through its affiliate UNDCP has in Nigeria been cooperating on the one hand with government in policy improvement and on the other with other NGOs in direct advocacy and research. There is also HONLEA, a UN idea, the Organization of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies, which meets regularly to update their records on trends in the trafficking and abuse of substance. The Commission On Narcotic Drugs initiates and deals with policy at the UN level for the consumption and subsequent application by member states though the UN General Assembly. There is the need for the international community to have as strong a force in controlling substance abuse as it does in substance trafficking. The difference between the two critical areas is too glaring. It is clear that drug abuse control requires more commitment political, financial and human but it should be seen as the object of trafficking in the long run and therefore attacked squarely.


 CRISA, 1993, Epidemiology and control of substance Abuse in Nigeria, Jos, Nigeria, (Ed), Obot I.S.(1) 1,5,8, (11)9.


  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Abuse Disorders; TIP series 32.


  1. CRISA; African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies; Vol. 1, 2000; Axel Klien; Harm reduction in Nigeria; A new Approach to Drug Control Policy for a Democratic Government; pp53-70.


  1. CRISA; Drugs and the Nigerian Society; A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography, (Ed), Obot S.


  1. CSAT; Additional Counselling Competence, The Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes, Professional Practice; TIP Series 21.


  1. Yusuf Al Qaradawi; The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam; Translated by Kamal El Helbawy Et al, Al Tauheed Publishing Company, Lagos, 1989.


  1. FOS: Annual Abstract of Statistics, 1998 Edition, Abuja, Nigeria.


  1. FRSC, 1998, Alcohol and Road Accidents; Facts You should know. Major-General Haladu Hananiya.
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  1. NAFDAC: PANORAMIC Report of Activities and Achievement, 1994- 2000.


  1. NDLEA: Drugs and You, (pamphlet) Office of the chairman, Ikoyi, Lagos.


  1. ONDCP; National Drug Control Strategy 2001 Annual Report.


  1. UNDCP/NDLEA: Report of the Rapid situation Assessment of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, 2000.


  1. UNDCP; Information Series; 1-6; (Ed) Dr Philip O. Emafo.


  1. United Nations; 1992, The UN and Drug Abuse Control. New York.


  1. USDS: International narcotics control strategy Report, Executive summary march 2001, Bureau for International Narcotics and law Enforcement Affairs, pp9 – 15, 20- 21, 94, 276.


Other References

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  1. Ahmadu I. M., 2002, Curtailment of Production of Alcohol and the Control of its Consumption in Nigeria.


  1. Alemika E. E. O. Ph.D., 2002, Drug Control Policy in Nigeria and Harm Reduction Strategy.


  1. Amali E, Ph.D., 2000, Alcohol Production, A case of profits versus Social Welfare.


  1. Ganny M., 2002, The role of Drugs and Alcohol Abuse in Intimate Violence.


  1. Ibok P. S., 1999 Factors of Drug Abuse among Students in Colleges of Education in Former South Eastern State of Nigeria.


  1. Makanju O. O. A., PhD, 2000, performance Enhancing Drugs and the Nigerian Sports Scene.


  1. Obioha E. E. and Onuoha N. C., 2002, Social Correlates and Pathways to Drug abuse and abstinence among youths in a pluralistic Society; A theoretical Discourse.


  1. Odejide B. Ph.D., 2002, Research, Prevention and Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Nigeria; Problems and Prospects. (10th Anniversary Lecture of CRISA.)


  1. Paul B. D. M., Et al., 2002, Drug Abuse Education among youths in school and churches in Northern Nigeria; The Experience of the Fellowship of Christian Students.


  1. Vehcit D. 2000, Consequences of Drug Abuse in Competitive Sports.


  1. Victor, M. Diagnosis and treatment of alcohol withdrawal states. Practical Gastroenterology 7(5): 6-15, 1983.

The Authors

 Hon. Umaru Aliyu Tsanyawa has spent all his life in drug – related postings in Community Health Institutions located in different parts of the present Kano and Jigawa States.  His first stint with politics started in 1983, where he won election as a member, Kano State House of Assembly.  He was chairman Health Committee.  This success encouraged him to contest elections into the National Assembly representing Tsanyawa/Kunchi, which he won in 1999.  In the house, he was a distinguished member of Narcotics Committee, and chairman of its Drugs Sub-Committee.  He is also member of Industrial, Appropriations, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Committees.

He is involved with CRISA – The Center for Research and Information into Substance Abuse in Jos, and has travelled to all the states of the Federation assessing Mental Health Institutions.  He has also visited Saudi Arabia, Britain, U.S., Holland and China.

Suleiman Haruna is a Public Relations Practitioner and before that had all along been Federal Information Officer who worked in Lagos, Kano and Abuja offices of the Federal Ministry of Information and elsewhere.  In that capacity, he served in informing, enlightening and reorienting the citizenry on programmes of the Federal Government, which include the drug abuse issue.  He had also served various NGOs including Youth Movement of Nigeria, which mothered a Drug–Free Association in Kano.  He is an accomplished writer with three books to his credit namely: The Kano State of Audu Bako, 1996; Time’s Pace, Time’s Space, 2000; and A twist to the Tale 2002.  He is widely published.

Haruna is a graduate of Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.





Book: The Kano State of Audu Bako 1998


  1. Title –           The Kano State of Audu Bako.
  2. Copyright Statement

iii.        Dedication

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Acknowledgement
  3. Preface

vii.       Forward


 Section One

–           Youth

–           Police Career and Family

–           His Father.

Section Two

–           Administration

–           His Ministries

–           Operators

Section Three

Sectoral Achievements

  1. Agriculture
  2. Water supply and irrigation
  3. Roads construction
  4. Administrative buildings
  5. Transportation
  6. Kano State Television System
  7. Rural Electrification Board
  8. Educational Development
  9. Health facilities
  10. Commerce and Industry
  11. Recreation
  12. Social welfare

Section Four

–           The price of their efforts

–           Sources


This work is dedicated to

Haruna, my father who illness upon fitness, prod me.

Amina, my mother who, weakness upon weakness bore me.

Zainab, my partner who progress or regress adore me.

My siblings, who brothers and sisters love me.


I wish to express my gratitude to the following bodies for releasing information materials.

Cabinet office, Kano State; Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Radio Nigeria Kaduna; National Archives Kaduna; Kano State Ministries of:  Information; Works and Housing; Agriculture; and Education; KASEPPA; The New Nigerian Newspapers; Bayero University Library; Kashim Ibrahim Library, ABU; and Police College, Kaduna.

I also wish to thank Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji Inuwa Dutse, Engr. Salihi Iliyasu; Alhaji Muhammadu Ayyuba, Magajin Garin Kazaure; Alhaji Hussaini Adamu, the Emir of Kazaure; the Late Arc. Balarabe Ismail; Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan, Sarkin Ban Kano; Alhaji Isa Gambo Dutse; Alhaji Mohammad Ibrahim and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai for granting me interviews. May I also recognize Prof. Isa Hashim for editing this work.

I also acknowledge the Sacrifices of my brother, Arc. Shehu Lawal Bello, who’s time, energy and resources served as the fuel for this work.  Also many thanks to Mr. Idika Ogbu of Finetex Limited Kaduna, who helped to typeset the work.

I wish to express my appreciation to the family members of Alhaji Audu Bako; Hajiya Ladi, Alhaji Rabiu Bako, Hajiya Fati Wara, Alhaji Abubakar and Alhaji Kabiru Audu Bako.

These and others too numerous to mention have contributed to the compilation of this material.


Those who do not see their namesshould please forgive the omission, which happened as a result of their large number and not as a result of the quality of their contribution.




Ba ka Iyawa

Baka Gamawa

Ba a yaba ma”


Above is a popular Hausa adage that aptly described leadership, it generally means a leader can never satisfy all the yearnings of the people he leads.  In some cases, Leaders are revered only after they might have left the scene.  When it had become glaringly evident that incumbents are falling below set records.

Audu Bako, first Governor of Kano State is one such victim, who’s name had suffered considerable neglect.  His leadership which ended 21 years ago, still remains the best of what Kano State has to offer both to indigens and Tourists alike.

In this few pages, we have tried to sum up what Audu Bako was able to accomplish as the Governor of Kano State in the seven years of his tenure.  I would however wish to express that human shortcomings have checked my ability to probe some areas a lot of people might consider very essential.  I hope by this pages to bring back the deprived Glory of Audu Bako to the face of Kano.  I would expect more respect and recognition to the name that today only appears when questions like “who made it”? are asked.


I must state that in the course of my research, I came across difficulties that should not obtain in our society, documents that are just 20 years old are mostly missing, it was evident that frequent changes of government offices contributed to this, but I would suggest more care to documents for use by future generations.


A Governor’s Youth

Audu or Bawa as called by his father, was the second of the seven children born of Alhaji Bako. His siblings include; Amadu,  Mairamu, Balarabe, Sani, Amina and Rabiu in that order. He was born on 24th of November 1924 at the police barracks in Kaduna. His mother Dije was from Mariri on the outskirts of Kano.

He was born a clever and innovative child who benefitted from his father’s rich library, for, he learnt to read and write before reaching the age of six. Children were normally sent to school at the age of seven, but he broke that record, he wrote a note to his father in English while still six, the note reads” please dad i want to go to school”.  Mallam Bako was amazed by what the boy wrote, so he sent him to school in the same year 1930.  Kaduna Government school was famous even then, that was probably why the child of the highest ranking African police officer was sent there. He was sent along with three friends, Yusuf Dantsoho, Garba and Dada.  The other friend Adamu was sent to another school. In the company of his friends, Audu proved to be a leader even then.  He joined the boy scouts and rose to be the scout master of his school, he also played various games including football and hockey very well.  He was a very good athlete.

A regular day in the life of young Audu began at 5a.m with Subhi prayers as with other members of the family. After breakfast at 6am, Audu has to “double up“ the five miles stretch between his home and school.  Immediately after school, in the afternoon, he returns for a quick lunch and proceeds for Islamic lessons, earlier with his father but in later years with one Mallam Hamza.  The lesson ends very close to the time of sunset prayers, almost 7pm.  By the time he eats dinner, he mostly goes straight to bed.  This tight schedule, was interspersed with the boy-scouting activities he was deeply engaged in.

In the primary school, Audu was said to be a recluse, he hardly opens up to other pupils, though he was engaged in so many activities which drew so many pupils around him.  He can also be said to be an all rounder of sorts as he shows his interest in almost every sphere.  He never failed an examination while in the primary school.  He also completed the holy Qur’an with his teacher Mallam Hamza.

All these efforts  endeared Audu to his father  who is both a secular and Islamic scholar.  He is said to carry Audu to most of his functions and outings, as a matter of fact, Mallam Bako takes Audu with him to his office where the police officers, mostly expatriates began to get used to Audu, and consider him the right replacement for his ageing father who sooner or later is bound to hand over his letter of resignation.

Audu successfully completed his primary education and immediately proceeded to Zaria middle school in 1937.he continued to exert his intellectual supremacy over his colleagues.  In the meantime, Mallam Bako was honoured with a medal by the governor of Northern Nigeria, Sir Gawain Bell,as a token of recognition of his professional excellence.  The award was also meant to douse his eagerness to retire, by the time he retired in 1938, Audu was only in form 2, but the pressure was so tense on Mallam Bako that he had to promise to send his son to replace him in the Force before his resignation could be accepted.

Audu completed Zaria middle school in 1942 with good grades, his dream job had been a postman, he was always enchanted by their shiny uniform and their motorcycle for the distribution of the days mail.

A few days after Audu had shown his father his successful examination papers, he was given a note to Mr. Farrel the then commissioner of police, who in turn sent him to the police college. The commandant, Mr. Clinton received him and sent him to a class with young men writing exams, Audu joined them in the exam and subsequently passed.  When the results came out, he was invited back to the police college and taken to the store, he was given uniforms and his head shaved clean. It was only then that Audu realised that his dream job of being a postman has been shattered, and to worsen matters, the job he hated most was the one he was forced into, as the force was filled with illiterates who walked barefooted.  Another thing he hated was the uniforms which looked like female dresses.  Young Audu thought of deserting many times, but his father, knowing fully well Audu hated the job, kept him watched for over a month.


Audu enlisted into the police force on the 24th of June 1942, his dislike for the police job continued unabated.  In those days, respect for parents and elders far overshadows ones interests, Audu had no choice but to continue.

At the tender age of 18, he was not as big and strong as his mates, he could not carry the normal rifle due to its weight, the force had to make a special wooden rifle for him. In one of his early experiences in the force, Audu recalled vividly how one Hassan Alawa tricked him, but he outwitted the former. Hassan was with Audu on assignment at Kaduna Railway station.  The former being an elderly policeman advised Audu, who`s first time it was to come on relief duty, that he should find a comfortable place and relax.  Audu judged this offer and decided to go round and hide.  Moments later, a supervisor came and was told by Hassan that Audu was sleeping on duty, lucky Audu came to report that he was awake.

Audu got married in 1943, at the age of 19, to Lami, a girl he had been seeing at Kabba road, where he attended the Islamic school of Mallam Hamza.  His two friends, Yusuf and Dada also married to the same family.  Lami gave birth to Hajara, Fati, Abubakar and Hauwa.  Hajara was born a year later in 1944, when Audu was still in Kaduna.  She was the apple of her father`s eye, the arrival two years later of her sister Fati, made Audu a happier dad.                                                                                                     Shortly after getting married, Audu decided to be a farmer.  After a few trials in Kaduna, he purchased a farm at Kasuwar Magani where he goes to spend his weekends, it was from this period that he cultivated the habit of going on annual leave during the rainy season, to enable him pay special attention to his crops.  It was the success of this farm that gave birth to the Buruku farm which he bought in 1956.  His family had by then expanded.  In 1949, he had married another wife named Kaduna, she was to mother only Dr. Lawal before she died in 1950.After her death and in the same year, Audu married Ladi, the woman that shared the government house with him. He was then a sub-inspector, he met her while on posting to Zaria.  Ladi’s love for him made her defy a lot of attempts to separate them.  And she bore him six children. Nasiru was her first, he was born while they were serving at Ilorin.  However, Lami, who was still at Kaduna gave birth to Abubakar a year later in 1952.  All her children were born in Kaduna, but no two children of Ladi were born in the same place.  Kabiru her second child was born in Minna in 1953, and Ibrahim was born in Zaria when Audu was an ASP IN 1955. He was between 1955-58 at various times in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and Jos.  It was in Jos in 1958 that Hadiza was born. Two years later, the birth of Sa’a portended his promotion to the rank of DSP.  While in Kaduna and a rain of promotions afterwards; acting SP 1961, SP, Acting SSP and SSP all in 1962; acting ACP and ACP in 1964.  He was posted as head of N.A. police, administration and training in 1964.

In 1966, he was ag.DCP and DCP. Audu’s rapid promotion is an indication of the kind of service he rendered to his country and also a result of excellence achieved through courses at home and abroad.  His last child was Zainab, born 1967.  In the whole of his careers a policeman, he stayed in no station for two years consecutively without being transferred.  His wife recalled vividly how they were transferred out of Kano when they had not even unpacked. On how the children’s education fared, they were fixed into schools permanently, so that on vacation they join their parents in whichever duty post they were.

Audu infact had planned to leave the police force in 1954 but providence stopped him, he was appointed to go to Britain’s Metropolitan police training school.  This course further elicited the genius in Audu for he picked an immediate interest in Law, and lucky for him, he attended six courses in the next eight years, this include; Forensic science course, Britain, 1955, senior police officers course  Ryton UK, 1958, executive officers course in Nigeria, 1959, and Metropolitan N.4 district directing staff course UK in 1962.

As a result of his accomplishments, he became a lecturer at Law at the police college Kaduna, like father like son one could say, he was also appointed by the FG member of the Nigeria peace delegation  that met in Niamey under the auspices of the OAU consultative committee on Nigeria crisis to discuss peace moves.

Audu was appointed governor of Kano state in 1967, the news met him in his farm on a Sunday morning.  He had been on leave tending his farm as was his wont during the rainy season. Two things came to Audu’s mind when he saw his orderly and children coming to see him, either that his ageing father had died or Ojukwu had been caught, so the information caught him unawares that he was appointed governor of the new Kano state, the second largest business center in the whole country. He narrated hoe he went to Lagos and at the airport saw a long car with a flag waiting for him, he was reluctant to get in, he said.  The bespectacled governor also remembered that he could not eat for two days after the appointment because of anxiety. He did not anticipate any problems in Kano, as the Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero was his student at the Kaduna police college, and the people are open minded and business orientated.  And best of all, his maternal ancestry traces to Gezawa in Kano, his maternal grandmother married at Mariri, where his mother was born, and where his father on tour met and married her.  So he came to Kano happy and Kano accepted him with open arms.

The governors maiden address which was delivered on the 30th of march 1968, was full of dreams and plans for the nascent Kano and promises of better conditions of living.  It was modest in a sense as everything that he planned and promised was within the means of the state, even at hat time when Kano depended on its agriculture, as petroleum was still a new name in Nigeria.

In the same year, Audu erected a chart inside the government house to indicate his projects and mark their completion, he was said to have paid much attention to this chart up to the end of his administration.

Kano expanded under Audu Bako like a balloon to become the cynosure of the whole country.  The eleven  other governors all found time to visit Kano  to see what the whole fuss about development was, and they all went back satisfied. At one occasion, Brigadier Adebayo, the governor of western state said when he visited Kano “I am impressed with the rate of development in all sectors in Kano, Kano state has won my heart and the heart of the people of western state.  What our state must continue to do is to assist each other and other states economically and socially” 21/5/70.

Hear what chief J.E Adetoro, Fed. commissioner for industry had to say of Kano when he visited  “growing number of industries in Kano greater than any other state” 19/4/73.  UN official, Mr Uswatti Aratchi, and Mr Andemichael of Economic commission of Africa, on a visit, said  “Road construction in Kano could be compared to that of any developed nation” 25/9/73.

The name of Kano had transcended the boarders of black Africa, people from all over the world want to share the Kano mystery. Between January 1973 to April 1974 alone, foreign visitors paid a visit to Kano state on 32 occasions from across the continents of the world.  Most of them heads of government and special envoys.


Audu is a level-headed and easy-going, others cited him as simple and funny, he becomes intimate with anyone that comes across him, he calls his officers by their first name and asks for the health of their families by name.  People who worked with him said they loved him, as he is not proud, he treats them as mates.  An event was recollected in which Audu went to a construction site and insults the labourers in a loud voice, when they all looked up surprised, he said, the insult is his recompense as labourers insult him in his absence. When told nobody had insulted him, he says the insult remains reserved to fall on anybody that insults him.  The governor usually remains at the site for long hours, talking one-to-one with the construction workers and discussing their problems.  In another event, Audu was at tiga with officers on tour and refuses for lunch to be cooked, he wanted to see who breaks down first.  Some staffers went into the farm and started plucking garden eggs to eat, when he sighted them, he shouted thief’ and started to pursue them and everybody laughed it off.  He is also said to personally assist staff whenever they have  problems.  Cases like these made him a subject of love and administration.  Audu would drive his own car and go round Kano in the day time, and at night would go with one of his commissioners, join groups discussing, so that they know the grudges of people with a view to solving them.  Audu remained the same up to the end of his life.  Before he died at his farm in Danmarke which he tends alongside other labourers, he sold vegetable to the construction workers at Bakalori dam site.

He had written two books, “Guide to N. A. Police duties” and “History of Northern Nigeria Police”.  He was a recipient of the Nigeria Police Medal NPM.


The Late District Head of Sabon gari, Mallam Bako, was from Argungu in Kebbi State.  He was born around the year 1878. When colonialists visited Argungu, they needed a guide out, so the emir gave them Bako, they further pleaded with the emir to give them the boy to take care of their horses.

Besides taking care of their horses, his bosses realised his intelligence and directed him to join the police, which he did on the 5th of October 1903, he was to spend 35 years before retiring as the most senior African on the force.

Within a year of joining the force, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and in 1907, he became a sergeant major.  He was on the forefront in the establishment of Kaduna town itself, he was still a sergeant when the force moved from Dungurum to Kaduna, in fact he was said to be the person  that planted the flag of the colonialists in Kaduna.  It was also said that he planted most of the mango trees in the police barracks.  In 1915 he was promoted Regimental Sergeant Major  RSM.

Mallam Bako later became a major instructor at the police college until he retired in 1938.  His quest for education was probably informed by the same intelligence he exhibited on the force, for he had learnt to read, write and type even before joining the force. By 1920, he visit learned Mallams far and wide to learn various aspects of Islam, he was said to have the richest   library in the whole Kaduna, he became proficient in many areas.  Medals he wore include; African General service, Africa Police Medal, 1936 Jubilee medal, Colonial Police and fire brigade holding service and good conduct with two bars.

After retirement, his proficiency in Law earned him the prestigious position of president, Kaduna mixed court in 1940, where he continued to prove his worth, the court progressed so much that Mr McCullum, the administrator for Kaduna, attributed all the success to Mallam Bako.

In recognition of his achievements, the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Muhammadu Jafaru, turbaned him the district head of Sabon garin Kaduna.  He was a first class policeman, learned Muslim, and traditional ruler.  He died in 1967.



When Kano state was born on may 27th 1967 along with eleven other states, they were born on the edge of a crisis that was to remain for 30 months.  The civil war which started only three days after the creation of the states virtually turned them into a still birth. As government was immediately diverted of attention by the war.  Even commissioners were not appointed until eleven months later.  For the eleven months then, states remained mere shadows, they do not execute projects, they were answerable to the Interim Administration Council based in Kaduna.  As a matter of fact, even the budget of 1968/69 was drawn for them by the council.

By 1970 when the war ended, it was evident that Kano had already started the action that was planned for the whole country before other states.  About three dams have been constructed, and road projects started by the government of Northern Nigeria have been completed.

As a matter of record, Audu Bako’s Kano, saw within its seven years of existence such development that no other state has been able to achieve, this became so due to many factors, but most of all the quality of the governor heading the state.  A man who believe only in action.  He is decisive, honest and dedicated to whatever course he pursues.

In February 1968, while speaking to Dan Agbese of the New Nigerian, he said of his appointment as the governor of Kano state  “I am prepared to take up the challenge and I will explore all the resources at my disposal to build a virile and enviable state”.  He also said; “I would not expect any reward for my work as military governor, I have a duty and that duty is to serve my people and my country.  The satisfaction I derive from discharging my duty faithfully and honestly is my greatest reward.  Expectation of reward for everything is bound to reduce peoples sense of responsibility” ibid.

Audu Bako’s style of administration can best be described as purely military, everything that passes through him is treated with military dispatch.  He has also been described as dynamic and visionary.  He always plans to achieve and he did achieve.  And as Gowon gave governors freehand, he did the same to his lieutenants, he believed that responsibility goes with necessary authority before performance is expected from them.  So he gave them freehand to initiate and carry out.  As a man who cherishes hardwork and always goes for quality, his executives were all he needed as most of them had come from former Native Authority in Kaduna with their zeal and experience, others were politicians whose dream of building a greater Kano has not been realised, so the opportunity that came to them was to utilize and prove their worth, and they surely did as every commissioner or permanent secretary had something to say for himself at the end of the seven years they spent building Kano.

Audu Bako’s government has four reasons that saw it to whatever success it had achieved, the first being the dynamism of the governor himself, their is also the availability of money as oil has just taken over from groundnuts and cotton as revenue earner for Nigeria. Then comes the effective civil service that left Kaduna for Kano with all its dedication, effectiveness, experience and high number, and lastly the long tenure of the administration.

He was the first military governor to appoint commissioners among his peers for, three months after becoming governor, he announced his commissioners. The Federal Government directive that he should hold on, did not make him reverse his decision, as he made the commissioners chairmen of committees set up to make recommendations to the government on how ministries should start up and function. State creation was formally announced on 1st April 1968, and the commissioners then assumed headship of ministries on a political capacity while permanent secretaries that were sent by the Interim Administration Council in Kaduna, the body responsible for administering new states, became administrative heads and accounting officers.  Six ministries were approved by the IAC, Kano state had;  Agriculture, Forestry and community development; Justice; Education; Finance, industry and small scales; Works and survey.  All six ministries were to be administered by a permanent secretary each while a seventh permanent secretary was made secretary to the military government.

Although the governor had already earmarked more than seven people for the post of commissioners, the excess were still utilized, for they were given portfolios.  A 2nd commissioner was appointed for Finance Ministry while Information, Home affairs, and Local government all in the military governors office all got a commissioner each; but Justice, Works and survey, Education, Agriculture and Health all remained with a commissioner each.

When the administration of the state began to unfold, the military governor considered the need to decentralise the government of the state so that the common man in the rural areas will feel its impact more, and even contribute meaningfully to its development.  An administrative reform was embarked upon. Eight towns were selected as administrative area offices headed by a district officer.  This idea which was the first in Nigeria was informed by a deep concern for the rural dweller who does not have access to good roads, transport, and money and such a person wishes to make a report to the state government, he may spend days without seeing the appropriate official.  In order to make it easy for him, he can now see his district officer who makes a report and sends to the state headquarters, feedback also comes through him to his administrative area.  The composition of the areas were like this:

Kano north central – which includes – Babura, Garki, Ringim, Gabasawa, Gezawa, Minjibir, Dambatta.

Kazaure – Kazaure, Roni, Yankwashi, Amaryawa.

Gumel – Sule tankarkar, Maigatari, Danzomo, Gagarawa, Gumel.

Hadejia – Birniwa, Malam madori, Guri, Kirikasamma, Auyo, Bulangu, Kafin hausa, Hadejia.

Kano west – Gwarzo, Tofa, Bichi, Karaye.

Kano south east – Gaya, Jahun, Dutse, Birnin kudu, Sumaila, Gwaram.

Kano south west – Dawakin kudu, Kura, Kiru, Rano, Wudil, Tudun wada.

Kano metropolitan – Ungogo, Kumbotso, Kano, Waje.

Following the reforms and in order to instil among the administrative areas the spirit of competition, a 15 per cent bonus was given to each from the total tax collected from such area in addition to the state subvention given them.  The rebate was also meant to help in bringing about accelerated development in the areas.  This was the idea that gave birth to the creation of local governments by succeeding governments.


The Interim Administration Council, approved six ministries to all the states, but as explained earlier, the structure of the ministries gave priority to the position of permanent secretary, who is the administrative head and accounting officer over and above the commissioner  who is only a political appointee with mostly a ceremonial status.  That was probably why only six permanent secretaries shared seven commissioners.  The ministry of Finance, economic planning, trade and industry, had Mohammed Sani Dambatta as the first permanent secretary, Two commissioners each for, economic planning, trade and industry; and finance, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Alhaji Muhammad Gauyama respectively worked with him.

The five remaining ministries had the remaining officers; Agriculture permanent secretary was Alhaji Mohammed Isma while Alhaji Inuwa Dutse was the commissioner.  In the Justice ministry, Alhaji Zakari Mohammed was the Attorney General. In the ministry of Health, Dr. Abubakar Imam was the permanent secretary while Alhaji Sani Gezawa was the commissioner.  Ministry of Works and survey  had Alhaji Balarabe Ismail as permanent secretary, while Alhaji Muhammad Ayyuba was the commissioner.  Lastly, Education had Alhaji Magaji Dambatta as permanent secretary with Alhaji Muhtari Adnan as commissioner.  These were the first set of political appointees for Kano state in the six ministries, however, there were others who served without the ambit of ministries like the commissioners for Home Affairs and information.  Alhaji Umaru Gumel and Tanko Yakasai respectively and the commissioner for Local governments Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule.  They all served under the military governors office and were served by an extra permanent secretary responsible for the cabinet secretariat, Alhaji Alfa Wali.  The last permanent secretary was the secretary to the state government, Alhaji Abdurrahman Howeidy.

To strengthen the cabinet of  the year old Kano state, some changes took effect from June 1969, the permanent secretaries for; Works, Education, Agriculture, Finance and Health were all dropped.  The permanent secretary for Works however, was re-appointed Chief Executive of the newly created Metropolitan Planning and Development Board.

Also coming at the same time was the creation of two new ministries out of the former ministry of Finance, economic planning, trade and industry.  They are; Establishment and service matters, and economic development trade and industry.  The ministries were given to Alhaji Baba Danbaffa and Alhaji Aminu Dantata respectively.  Both had separate permanent secretaries.   Another ministry was created out of three others, Co-operatives, Forestry and community development.  The units were from Trade, Agriculture, and Education respectively.  Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule was made commissioner, his former office was scrapped.  New permanent secretaries were also appointed, they include; Aliyu Daneji for Finance, Salihi Ilyasu for Works, Nuhu usman for Justice, W. A. Stark for Health, Muhtari Dan Amu for Education and Musa Gumel for Agriculture.  Minor changes followed in 1970. The commissioners for Finance and Home Affairs swapped positions for better performance.  In 1971, the commissioner for information, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai also swapped positions with Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule of forestry cooperatives and community development.

1970 it was when two permanent secretaries on official assignment lost their lives in an air crash, they are Alhaji Nuhu Usman and Alhaji Muhtari Dan Amu. They were later replaced by Alhaji Sani Aikawa and Alhaji Hussaini Adamu respectively.  The state also lost the commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Umaru Gumel in the same year.  Alhaji Tanko Yakasai held the ministry on acting capacity while he still retained his forestry portfolio until 1972, when he was finally moved to the Finance ministry.  Also in 1971, routine postings of permanent  secretaries took place.  Alhaji Isa Gambo Dutse on return from a course at Oxford took over the ministry of economic planning, trade and industry.  Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim was posted to health for six months and was returned to Home Affairs where he stayed up to 1975, Alhaji Musa Gumel took over from him in the health ministry.  Alhaji Bilyaminu usman and Alhaji a Ado Madaka were appointed commissioners in 1972  and were posted to cooperatives, forestry and community development and the newly created ministry for economoic planning.  The ministry for Trade and Industry had Alhaji Sani Gezawa as commissioner, splitting of the ministry came after the resignation of alhahi Aminu Dantata.  However a few months later, the ministry of cooperatives was disbanded and the three departments were returned to their former ministries, and the commissioner, Bilyaminu Usman was moved to Education as Muhtari Adnan had resigned along with Aminu Dantata.  Alhaji Muhammad Gauyama was moved to Establishments ministry as Baba Dan Baffa had also resigned.


  1. Muhammad Ayyuba Works and survey      1968-75
  2. Inuwa Dutse Agriculture           1968-75
  3. Umaru Gumel Finance, H/Affairs    1970-72,68-70
  4. Tanko Yakasai   Information, coops, finance 68-71,71-72,72-75.
  5. Maitama Sule L/govt, coops, Inform 68-69,69-71,71-75
  6. Muhammadu Gauyama finance, h/affairs, estabs 68-70,70-73,73-75
  7. Aminu Dantata eco. plg, trade and industry -68-73
  8. Zakari Mohammed attorney general      1968 – 75
  9. Muhtari Adnan Education             1968 -73
  10. Baba dan Baffa establishments        1968-73
  11. Sani Gezawa Health, h/affairs, plg. 68-73,73-75,73-75.
  12. Bilyaminu Usman coops, education  1972-73,73-75.
  13. Ado Madaka eco plg.,home affairs   1972-74,75.



Alhaji Hassan Lemu            1967-68


Alhaji Abdurrahman Howeidy    1968-75

Alhaji Alfa Wali               1975.


  1. Muhammed Isma agric         1968-69
  2. Balarabe Ismail works         1968-69
  3. Magaji Dambatta educ          1968-69
  4. Sani Dambatta finance       1968-69
  5. Abubakar Imam Health        1968-69
  6. Alfa Wali cabinet sec   1968-75
  7. Nuhu Usman Justice       1969-71
  8. Mohammad Ibrahim h/affairs     1969-75
  9. Aliyu Daneji finance       1969-71
  10. Salihi Ilyasu works         1969-72
  11. Suleiman Baffa agric, estabs, l/govt 69-75
  12. Musa Gumel agric, educ    1969-75
  13. M. T. Waziri works          1972-75
  14. Hussaini Adamu educ          1970-76
  15. Zakari Bello agric,estabs,health
  16. Abdul Kazaure agric         1973-75
  17. M.T.Umar agric
  18. Isa Gambo Dutse   trade         1971-75
  19. Sadauki Kura eco plg.      1973-75
  20. Saidu Gwarzo CAS           1974-75
  21. Tukur Gwarzo special duties 1971-75
  22. Tsoho Tofa trade
  23. Isa Hashim eco plg.
  24. Sani Aikawa sol.gen        1971-75
  25. Muhtari dan Amu educ           1969-71
  26. Sule Minjibir estabs, health
  27. St. E. D. Nelson
  28. Mr .Woodroofe
  29. R. O. Mant
  30. B.Erty leal estabs
  31. V. S. Kulatunga works, WRECA
  32. W. A. Stark.


–           Rural Electrification Board    Alhaji Jafaru Aliyu  GM

–           Kano state investments ltd.    Joseph Farah          GM

–           Kano state transport corporation  Alhaji Sabo Sambo   GM

–           Kano oil mills                    Hans Willi           MD

–           Metropolitan planning and devt board  Balarabe Ismail    CEO

–           Kano state television service                            MD

–           WRECA                         Vigit Kulatunga            GM

–           Others

Public service commission

–           Alhaji Shuaibu Kazaure              1968-71    chairman

–           Alhaji A.R.Waziri                   1971-75    chairman

–           Alhaji Saidu Gwarzo                            secretary

Chiefs of protocol

–           Ali Ahmed

–           Ismaila Yaro Dandago

Principal private secretaries

–           Ibrahim Bello

–           Bashari Gumel

Aide de corps

–           Abdullahi Jika

–           Mr. Jeb

–           Ahmed Kaoje

Personal secretaries

–           Abba Dutse

–           Babagana Adamu

–           Umaru Abdulwahhab.





It can be said that Audu Bako became interested in agriculture in his tender age, he was in his early twenties when he owned the Kasuwar Magani farm, he was also in his early thirties, when he bought the Buruku farm, he later owned the Tiga and Mariri farms as governor.  One of his close friend said Audu and himself used to visit farms belonging to other people when he was newly appointed as he had not bought a farm then. Audu Bako loved farming probably more than anything in his life.  I wish to introduce part of a speech he delivered at the festival of agriculture, forestry and veterinary science at the university of Ibadan on the 7th of may 1970.

“… In the economy of every nation, agriculture takes a foremost place, nothing develops unless people can eat and eat well, there is nothing more important than the development of a balanced agriculture which can provide all people… with a balanced diet. The foundation of good health is good food and it  is only by the provision of an abundant supply of the correct foods that mankind can survive and develop.”

Governor Bako has in the seven years of his reign changed Kano from importer of food to the food basket of the nation. He succeeded in changing the dry state into a fertile land, rich in various types of crops grown in both the wet and dry seasons.  He initiated an integrated agricultural scheme, a zoological garden, and a dairy, all fully functional by the time he left government. The development of the Kano river project has saved Kano’s large rural populace from migration to urban areas, and it has made farmers greater at home.  Agriculture has remained one area in which Audu will never be forgotten in the history of Kano, and the nation at large.


A quadri-partite  livestock scheme was introduced to ensure the development of high level protein base for the people through high quality meat and milk intake.  The livestock investigation and breeding centers, which are a major component of the scheme, were set up by the Northern Nigeria government to investigate production potentials of local breeds and maximise on their productivity by genetic selection and cross breeding with improved genetic stock.  The Gumel and Birnin kudu LIBC’s were opened before the creation of Kano state.  The scheme consists of Ranches, fattening centers, an abbatoir, and a cold store.  The ranch is a vast land where cows are developed from youth to adulthood, with Bunkure being the largest at 9000 acres.  Others exist at Sumaila and Bagauda.  The Bunkure ranch houses 10,000 heads of cattle, all belonging to the state government.  The fattening center as the name implies takes  care of cows that are old enough to be slaughtered, these are transferred out of the ranches to the centers for proper feeding techniques, the fattening centers at Gaya kadawa Tiga, Gumel and Birnin kudu then send  the cows to the abbatoir were they are slaughtered and processed into packages, meat for local consumption is distributed whilemeat for sale to other parts of Nigeria were taken to the cold store where they are loaded on wagons and transported by rail to the market areas.  The scheme was to obviate the necessity for live transportation of animals, which was expensive. The abbatoir was the only part of the scheme not completed at the time of the 1975 coup.


The need for recreation in Kano state informed the establishment of the Kano zoo, a committee headed by Mr. Nelson was set up to among other things find a suitable place for it in Kano.  When the committee submitted its report, the emirate garden, 100 acres of land was chosen as Kano zoo site in 1970.  Even before completion of constructions, some animals were brought and kept at Mr Nelsons house, [gidan dan hausa].  By completion time, Alhaji Inuwa Dutse, the commissioner, travelled to Australia to bring some animals, including Kangaroos that were making their début trip to Africa. A little later, the governor travelled to east Africa and brought two plane loads of assorted animals, with all these, the zoo was opened with 500 fauna.  When the then emir of Hadejia donated lions to the zoo, Audu’s wife Ladi reared them to adulthood at the government house.  The Kano zoo also has an Inn to cater for visitors.


The dairy was supplied with milk from the kadawa LIBC.  It was equipped with a complete laboratory.  Milk was treated and pasteurised, it was then passed to the cold room.  The company produces yoghurt in three flavours; chocolate, orange, and strawberry, fresh milk, ice cream and butter. 75,000 was spent on the project.  It handles more than 400 gallons of milk per day.

To facilitate flow of milk to the dairy, cow owners were invited to bring milk and in return, feed for their animals are sold to them at a subsidized rate. The farm center, which formerly included the whole city center, was irrigated from the dam located near the present Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo secondary school for boys through a pipeline, to produce fodder for cattle.


The FALGORE games reserve, erstwhile just a forest reserve was first marked by the Metropolitan Kano.  The report suggested the opening up of the forest by means of an access road to turn it into a government reserve.  As it was wont to do, the state government through its agriculture ministry set out to perform this task.  At that time, only Yankari games reserve exist in northern Nigeria and FALGORE was linked to it.  There were plenty heads of wild animals, that have found the reserve conducive for habitation.

The Tiga river source is at the forest.  In order then to boost tourism and earn for the state some revenue, staff of the Yankari games reserve were invited to work along with forestry officials in the state, they were given two weeks to count the animal heads in the forest.  With their task completed, the ministry officials started work on the 1063km2 reserve.  23,000 was given to the inhabitants of the FALGORE village as compensation, they were moved 14 miles away to a new place, though an extension of the reserve, Kafin Audu Bako. The new reserve formerly called Kogin Kano was to be called Falgore.  A new road [the Tudun wada road]  was constructed, and Hotel and recreational facilities were provided.  The reserve later served to study wildlife population in other forest reserves.


Kano abbatoir is the largest of its kind in Africa, it was to serve as part of the integrated agricultural scheme, it was formerly sited at the present school of legal studies on BUK road.  The project idea was conceived in 1974 and contract was awarded for 6.2 million Naira, work had commenced with the construction of the office buildings and ditches, when another governor moved it to its present site on panshekara road. The construction was to include an office complex, quarantine, and slaughter house which in itself include; slaughter, hide and skin removal and inspection, to ensure export quality skin, there are sections also that treat intestines and internal organ removal and blood bank.  The cold room, another section is cooled by two powerful compressors which are in turn powered by electricity with two generators standing by in case of failure.  The company was to be supplied with cattle from the Bagauda LIBC, and it will in turn send frozen and packaged meat in cold trucks to the ALDA near gidan Murtala for loading on wagons  for onward transportation to other parts of the country.  At that time, government wanted to ensure that cows other than those for ceremonial, breeding and research, are not transported alive.

The company has the capacity to handle the slaughter, processing and storage of 800 heads of cattle, and 1000 goats/sheep daily with a cold storage of over 500 tonnes.  The abbatoir though has not had the opportunity exercise this capacity since its commencement of operation in 1988.


Cattle were imported from at least four countries to supplement and cross breed with local breed; drought master from Australia, Friesian from the UK, Sudanese that have never left Sudan before, and south Devon of Netherlands. Friesian bulls were used at the hotoro artificial insemination  center, to inseminate local breed, the center was established in conjunction with the ABU institute of agriculture.

Anglo-nubian goats and Baluchi sheep were also introduced and sent to Kiru and Rano for breeding.  Even horses were not left behind, as many were introduced into the state from abroad.

Local fulani cows were also well taken care of.  Diseased cows that pass through Kano on stock routes, on their way to southern Nigeria, were inoculated at various points.  Grazing reserves were first set up in 1968, there were about 50 cattle dams then constructed by the state government for cows.  These dams serve dual purposes, they serve as drinking places for the cows and grazing reserves during the rainy season.  Gamba is planted near them so that  cows can eat them during the dry season.  3976 hectares was developed.  23 lister engines were purchased for areas without dams, bailing machines were purchased to support the fodder conservation techniques near Tomas river project.  To check the roaming of herds of cattle 400ha was fenced.   Kano river project livestock development involved the utilisation of waste land on the river project to support 35,000 heads of cattle and 200,000 sheep/goats.  Veterinary clinics in Kano were up to 32 by 1975.

Poultry centers were also established at gwale, Kazaure, Dambatta, Gumel and Hadejia, to develop various breeds of poultry.  They produce 10,000 day old chicks.  The farm came complete with a hatchery which is still in use.  The center improved egg rise and output and improved local breed by cross breeding.  On fisheries, Bagauda is one of the fish producing areas in the state, and one of the biggest in Northern Nigeria.  Most of the dams in Kano serve as fisheries, and a large turn over is realised yearly from them.  Since 1970, various varieties of fish were introduced like the common carp, bogrus, heterosis, and lates.


Shelterbelts were introduced in extreme parts of the state to check desert encroachment, and serve as woodlot to the state.  Fruit trees were also introduced through a world bank project.

A cotton ginnery was commissioned to break the monopoly of the white man. Kano was a major producer of cotton and it had a large catchment area, but all cotton had to be exported without ginning, denying the state the use of cotton seed, which is itself a raw material for cotton seed oil and animal feed.  Fertilizer was ordered direct from manufacturers and sold direct to farmers, so chances of hoarding and the issues of middlemen were almost completely  alien.  Between 1969-70, fertilizer was distributed free to farmers.

An agricultural show was introduced at district level, and to round it all up, all districts competed at the Bagauda agric show venue, General Gowon  came during one of the state shows.  The event was meant to publicize Kano as one of the largest and oldest trading centers of west Africa, and an agricultural state.

The location of the venue about 50 km from Kano ,at Bagauda.  It is close to kadawa farm and irrigation center, pilot fish farms, and the Bagauda holiday resort.  The place covers an area of 180,000sq ft and cost the state government N220,000.  A trade fair complex to be constructed as a second phase of the show was to cover one million sq ft in the 3rd national development plan.

Schools for training in agriculture were opened in Kano state.  College of agriculture was moved from Bagauda to become the school of agriculture Tomas in order to  train livestock assistants  and superintendents.  Three farm training centers were opened at Dambatta, Gumel and Bagauda.  Students spend a year in school and a year in the field.  Graduates can proceed to Tomas for further education.  Six farm institutes were opened by 1974 at panda, Danzomo, sada, Gwarzo, Malam madori and Rano to train pupils with farming background.  The provision of loans to farmers, institution of an annual lecture to discuss problems and prospects of agriculture, even the techniques of water conservation were highly carried out in higher rainfall intensity areas, strategic grains reserves were made an annual event, they serve as stand by provision in cases of emergencies as happened during the ill fated west Africa drought of 1972, the reserves also serve as market price stabilisers.  In recognition of Audu Bako’s effort in agriculture and minimising the effects of the drought on the people of Kano state, due to the provision of water supply and irrigation, he was awarded a gold medal by a Lebanese humanitarian organisation.  The award was only given to four people throughout the world, such people must have exemplary attainments in the provision of welfare facilities to their people.


Sources of water supply for Kano metropolis, were by Nigeria’s independence, the rivers challawa and Kano, with twenty submersible electric pumps.  Nine in river Kano and eleven in river challawa.  These pumps jointly deliver at the rate of just 200,000 gallons a day.  Water was treated at challawa and then delivered by 14inch and 15 inch diameter mains to the four million gallon capacity tank at goron Dutse, eight miles away and 250 ft higher than the water  works.  At that time an average seven gallons a day was estimated for individual consumption, and two million gallons a day for metropolitan Kano. Other than challawa, rural Kano was not supplied with piped water. Improvements to water works and an additional 24 inch diameter mains, from the works to the reservoir was completed in 1965. The economic limit of the sources at that time was put at 3.25mgd. [million gallons per day].

House holds without piped water, buy from dealers who are on contract to the Native Authority, there were 36 selling stations in the city since house connections are very few.  Only 3206 houses were connected in the whole city.  So most people supplement potable water with well water, though some may be contaminated as a result of proximity with latrines.  The creation of states brought a new dimension in the administration of water provision services which was earlier done by the ministry of works for Northern Nigeria.  The new state ministry  of works and survey was then charged with the task, the first of which was to curtail the acute water shortage in the metropolis.  Taps run for only a few hours a day especially during the dry season.  The ministry increased the number of pumps at the water works and the supply increased to 5mgd.  A survey was then conducted on the resources of the Kano river and the findings confirmed that water collected at Wudil over a 24 hour period can supply Kano with potable water for 30 years.  So the construction of a dam became apparent.  The Bagauda idea was initiated by Engr.  Salihi Ilyasu, then a chief engineer with the ministry of works.  Construction on the dam site began in 1969 and was completed in less than a year at the cost of about half a million pounds.  At completion, the dam solved the water shortage in Kano town, with a supply of 40mgd.  Water from the dam goes to the challawa water works where it is treated to internationally accepted world health standards, to the goron Dutse reservoir.  Another one million gallon tank was also commissioned at magwan to distribute water to the western part of Kano, the tank was constructed 100 ft below goron Dutse so water gravitates to it through pipe.  The dam was also channelled to irrigate kadawa pilot farm and serves as a fish farm and livestock center. [LIBC]

Bagauda dam provided Kano with potable water for four years until 1974 when Tiga dam was commissioned.  Bagauda was meant to be an interim measure to curb water shortage before completion of Tiga, Bagauda now serves riparian, tourist, and irrigation purposes.

Efforts of the state government in dam construction neither began nor ended with the Bagauda.  Early in 1969, governor Bako on a tour of schools in Birnin kudu noticed that schools close three months early during the rainy season because of shortage of water.  He returned with the idea of a dam, he discussed the idea with his professionals and the dam was constructed before the end of the dry season.  It was followed by a water works soon afterwards, solving the water shortage of the area.  After Bagauda, dams were constructed mainly with the twin aim of irrigating farmlands and providing potable water.  Kusalla dam  was constructed to provide water to Karaye, Gwarzo, Getso and surrounding villages, a tank was also provided at Getso, the dam also serves as a fishery.  Construction commenced in 1970 and was completed a year later.  Tomas dam brought a new dimension in dam construction in the state.  During the construction of Kano-Daura road by the Federal government, the state government sought for the construction of the dam on the crossing river Tomas instead of a bridge, this was accepted. Tomas was the first dam built this way, it has capacity to irrigate 8000 acres of farmland, sprinklers were also applied in deeper areas for the irrigation. Many other dams were later constructed this way especially along Kano -Gwarzo road.  Challawa gorge dam was built on the challawa river 90 km away from the city, it has an active storage capacity of 904mcm and a length of 7.804km.  The multi purpose reservoir serve the water needs of downstream areas of Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno states for:

  1. Irrigation of about 26,000ha of Hadejia valley project, 40,000ha of Kano river project phase II and other schemes downstream for the production of rice, wheat, sugarcane, vegetables etc.
  2. Supplementing the water supply to Kano metropolis and surrounding rural communities.
  3. Mandatory minimum flow release into the river for downstream requirements in Jigawa, Yobe and Borno.
  4. Flood control.
  5. Development of fisheries.
  6. Expected increase in production to reach 212,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains.

Survey work for the dam was done by an American firm in 1974 at the cost of 400,000, land clearing commenced by direct labour while construction  began later in 1976.  Other dam constructions in the period under review include jakara and gari, they both served as irrigation dams.  Jakara irrigates 6000 acres of farmland while gari irrigates 20,000 acres.  A 25 km access road was also constructed for the dam.  Both dams were also to provide water supply  but carelessness on the part of later governments allowed industrial effluent to toxicate the jakara.  Gari provide Kazaure with potable water.

Two dams were constructed at Kazaure, one named after the late emir, Alhaji Ibrahim Adamu, while the other was named after the commissioner for works, Alhaji Ayyuba, both dams provide water for irrigation for Kazaure town. Ayyuba dam has an active storage capacity of 54.4m3 million, while Adamu dam has a capacity of 5.3m3 million.

Construction work on ruwan kanya dam commenced in 1975, but was completed in 1976, with an acp of 56.6m3 million, it serves irrigation and riparian purposes.  The last dam to be built by the Audu Bako government was the Kafin ciri, it was to supply Garko, Kafin ciri, and Sumaila with potable water, it is for irrigation and fisheries.  Bulk of the work on the dam was done by later governments.  Tiga dam, first proposed in the O’sullivan report to the emir of Kano in 1954, metropolitan Kano in 1963 and the bureau of reclamation in 1968 was the first dual purpose dam and still the biggest, capable of irrigating 22,000ha as the nucleus of the Kano River Project.  The bureau of reclamation which commenced work as directed by northern Nigerian government to locate potential dam sites and irrigable areas on the Chad basin, was to complete its report after the coup of 1966. [The lake Chad resource study] when the report was brought to Nigeria, it was submitted to the governor because most of the dam sites fall within  the new Kano state.  The state ministry of agriculture and that of works, were immediately mandated to review the report.  This done, the foundation was laid to construct recommended dams in the state, before this time, Audu had been confronted with a lot of problems of rural -urban migration, potable drinking water, erratic rainfall and lack of agricultural land.  The report was named Kano River Project and was to irrigate 120,000ha of farmland for dry season farming.

The first phase covers Bebeji, Bunkure, Rano, kadawa and Kura.  The second phase covers Wudil, Gaya and Dawakin kudu, while the third phase covers the Hadejia valley project. All these areas were to be supplied by canal from Tiga. Prior to the tiga idea, only two irrigation projects existing the state, these were the Jakarade and Hadejia with a total coverage area of 1300acres, and irrigated by pumping residual flow in the river. The governor had in mind the maximum utilisation of canals and streams, deep wells and provision of pumps, so irrigation projects of these nature carried along with the proposal for the tiga for the second national development plan, were all approved with the exception  of tiga dam construction on the grounds that Kano had no executive capacity to make such a dam.  So Audu looked inwards on return, his commissioner for agriculture and others agreed to forego some of their projects and made money available for the dam, while the commissioner civil service  commission gave Salihi Ilyasu, the permanent secretary, freehand to employ any relevant personnel for the project.  But at completion, only half of the estimated amount was spent.  About eight villages that lie within 30 miles radius of the project were relocated and compensated, 1000 houses were billed for construction at the site.

Construction commenced simultaneously on the dam, channelisation and labour quarters.  A pilot farm which was to be sited at danhassan and watered by a borehole, was moved to kadawa with the availability five miles away of Bagauda dam.  The farm was set up to establish different parameters relating to irrigation design, agronomy, construction and operational management of the tiga project.  A separate pipe was provided at the dam for the 500 acre pilot farm which also included staff quarters and a fishery, to add color to the tiga dam, a sail boat harbour was built.

At the completion of the dam, the Federal government sent an inspection team to Kano which became highly impressed.  The then head of state, general Gowon, commissioned it in 1974 and promised that the federal government will fund the remaining phases of the project, and highlighted the creation of a river basin development authority in the country which will take over the Kano river project.  This was not well received by the Kano state government, and it sent a message to the federal government to this effect, since the dam was constructed by state funds.  When the authority was created, it took over the river project and Kano has not been compensated.

The eastern divide of the hydrogeological boundary of Kano state which cover the present Jigawa is mostly an arid region.  Surface water is scarce, that was why only Kazaure and Birnin kudu benefitted from dams, but despite this, the state government tried very hard to ensure equitable distribution of water facilities in the state.  The Hadejia and Jakarade earlier mentioned, were improved by the state government.  In 1974 a contract was awarded for the investigation of underground water resources in the region as the effects of the west Africa drought became evidently deadly.  The finding was to cover all the areas where rainfall is inadequate.  Tiga dam was also to supply the Hadejia valley and so is the challawa gorge dam.  A research study and investigation was co-sponsored by the Canadian government on the resources of the Hadejia valley.  The report was submitted after Audu Bako had left government.

Kano River Project

Kano river project is unique in design, the entire water distribution network operates on gravity, tiga dam distributes to the project through 18 km long main canals, which splits into eastern and western branches, these are then further broken into lateral canals, distributory canals field canals and finally to farms.  Each of the above mentioned structures are designed to carry a designated discharge, sufficient to irrigate the area it commands, the right storge reservoirs which were constructed in different locations throughout the project area is another unique feature of the project.  The reservoirs ere  built to receive and store the flow in the main and branch canals during the night, this is necessary since the entire project has to carry out irrigation at the same time. during the day a large quantity of water has to be stored in different locations of the project at night, when no irrigation is taking place.  Also designed and built is an elaborate drainage system which drain the project area of excess irrigation flow and rainy season water.

Tiga enable two cropping each year, during the rainy season, rice is planted in most farms while in the dry season, wheat, maize and vegetables were planted, any traveller on the Kano-Kaduna expressway will be flanked by the project for 30 km, [from chiromawa to karfi] many villages have benefitted from the dam.

At the construction of the first dam, the Birnin kudu, Kano has only five earth moving plants and equipment, even though this was a small dam, labour intensive method had to be employed to supplement the efforts  of the few machines available.  It was significant to note that not a single Kano state indigen could operate the plants, most of the operators deployed with the machines from Kaduna, were from Kaduna Plateau states.  The successes recorded at the Birnin kudu inspired the governor to direct the ministry to continue with construction through direct labour as opposed to contract methods.   More machines and equipment were purchased for the construction of the Bagauda in 1969 and cheap labour was again a highlight of the dam, while at Zaria dam, the Kaduna state government was spending 36/6d per square foot, only 3/6d was spent for the same area at Bagauda.  In order to ensure back-up services for the earth moving equipment, governor Bako persuaded the tractor and equipment unit of the UAC to open a branch in Kano before he bought machines from them.  Later Terex company also opened a branch in Kano for that purpose.

Maintenance of earth dams, which are built to last 100 years is very essential, especially the provision of drains, the slopes and spillway.  Foundation outlet works and crest of an earth dam must be constantly observed for any abnormal signs that may eventually lead to total collapse.  Perhaps as a result of inattention in 1977, the Birnin kudu became the first dam to collapse, it happened as a result of overtopping due to inadequate spillway.  Bagauda’s first scare happened in 1985 when a major crack appeared on the dam, but was promptly curtailed, the 1988 disaster caused destruction of lives, roads, farmlands, property and cost the Federal government 27 million to repair, all due to inattention as the major crack appeared two days before the collapse.

The economic importance of dams in Kano state cannot be over emphasized due to the following reasons:

  1. Provision of adequate water supply for the people of the state.
  2. Dams made it possible for Kano to grow enough food for its teeming population through all season farming.
  3. It has placed the state in the forefront in the production of wheat, thereby making the state the wheat basket of the nation.
  4. Provision of gainful employment for the rural populace during the long dry season, thereby curbing rural-urban migration.
  5. It has helped the state in its fight against desertification by providing water for the provision of forest reserves.
  6. All dams were built by direct labour, saving the state millions of Naira.
  7. Provision of recreational facilities and encouraging tourism especially with the provision of dala and goron Dutse, two boats at tiga dam.
  8. Riparian agriculture is enhanced, as fish, which could not be bred in the dry season now has a chance with the availability of dams.


Kano state government on creation in 1967 was faced  with the problem of lack of adequate motorable roads, particularly during the rainy season.  The first task was then to provide all season roads across the state, which would open up the rural areas for overall development.  At that time 450 miles of local authority roads were taken over by the state and renovated.

The state also provided tarred and laterite [feeder] roads linking various communities, towns and villages with the resulting enhancement of the socio economic position of the state.  However in order to reduce cost and provide employment opportunities and the development of technical skills and ethics among its young and upcoming professionals, the state embarked on road construction through direct labour.  Three bodies were shouldered with the responsibility of road construction in the state; the ministry of works, metropolitan planning and development board [UDB], and WRECA.  WRECA mostly concentrated on rural roads, while UDB concentrated on urban roads, the ministry construct roads in both the rural and urban areas.

Let us have a glance at some rural roads constructed in Kano state between 1968-74.

  1. Wudil-Gaya
  2. Tiga-Rahama
  3. Mallam madori-Nguru
  4. Gumel-Maigatari
  5. Tiga-Rurum-Rano-Garko-Kwanar Garko
  6. Rano-Kibiya-Sumaila-Kwanar Sumaila
  7. Yar kawo-Nataala
  8. Dambatta-Gari
  9. Gumel-Sule tankarkar-Babura
  10. Gumel-Dan zomo-Gujungu-Jahun-Kiyawa
  11. Gezawa-Ringim-Gujungu-Hadejia
  12. Dakaiyawa-Kafin hausa
  13. Gaya-Jahun-Kafin hausa
  14. Kwanar Huguma-Dutse-Kiyawa
  15. Tsanyawa-Daho
  16. Gujungu-Dutse
  17. Gwarzo-Karaye-rogo
  18. Kano-madobi-Kafin maiyaki
  19. Kunya-babaura
  20. Kano-Gwarzo-dayi
  21. Kano- Bichi- Tsanyawa
  22. Gwarzo-bagwai-Bichi
  23. Kafin maiyaki to Tudun wada border
  24. Wak-tiga-gajale
  25. Karfi-Rano
  26. Kazaure-wawan rafi
  27. Kazaure-Roni
  28. Dambatta-Batali
  29. Gaya-Shuwarin.

Some of the roads were constructed for special reasons, during the construction of tiga dam, at least four roads were   constructed to provide access to the dam site or to  detour traffic from the site.   Tiga-Rahama, Wak-tiga-gajale and tiga Rurum were constructed to provide access while Tudun wada road was constructed to direct traffic from Rano-Tudun wada because of the construction, and the opening of the falgore games reserve.  The road also reduced the distance between Kano and Jos by about 125km. Easy access to other states became another important reason for the construction of roads.  The position of Kano as a commercial nerve center in sub Saharan Africa cannot be over emphasized.  So roads were constructed to ensure easy flow of goods and services to and from Kano.

The Kwanar Huguma-Dutse-Kiyawa road was constructed to provide easy access to Bauchi state through Azare, while Kano-Gwarzo-dayi was for access to katsina and Sokoto states.  Kano-Bichi-Tsanyawa, was for access to katsina state, and Kunya-Babura a world bank assisted project was for access to Niger republic.

Urban Roads

A remarkable achievement was made in the construction of metropolitan roads, especially the construction of dual carriageways with pavements and street lights, the city, gyadi gyadi, tarauni, nassarawa, Sabon gari, gwagwarwa, and tudun wada were fully served with tarred roads for easy communication, some existing roads were also dualised.  Some of this roads include:

  1. Murtala Mohammed way, from Ahmadu Bello way to triumph junction
  2. BUK road, kofar nassarawa to BUK.
  3. Aminu Kano way
  4. Triumph round about-kofar mazugal-kofar ruwa-katsina road junction
  5. Ibrahim taiwo-kofar mata-kofar kwaru-around the palace-kofar kudu-kofar nassarawa-kasuwar rimi.
  6. Ibrahim taiwo to gidan murtala
  7. Sabo bakin zuwo road [silver jubillee round about]-audu bako way junction.
  8. Audu bako way
  9. Lagos street-airport road bridge
  10. Mandawari-kofar kabuga, [started]
  11. Ahmadu Bello way
  12. IDH-triumph link
  13. Suleiman crescent [started]

The state ministry of works in 1972 produced a road map of kano state to facilitate development, the map showed where each federal, state and local road was to be constructed for Kano state, the effort was the first in Nigeria.

Housing – land development

Efforts of the state government in planning, started with the setting up of the Kano metropolitan planning and development board, as suggested by Trevallion’s report on metropolitan Kano.  The report,  financed by the government of northern Nigeria to the tune of 6000 was to:

  1. prepare a long term development plan for Kano.
  2. carry out development in accordance with the plan and be responsible for the necessary financial implications.

The name of the board was later changed to urban development board UDB,and more responsibilities were added to its schedule:

  1. plan and control development generally in the metropolitan area of Kano.
  2. establish new residential, commercial and industrial areas
  3. improve transportation networks by reconstructing to a higher standard, existing roads construct new ones.

The board started work on the preparation of development plans for Kano.  Gyadi-gyadi was one of the first places to be surveyed.  The board made it a policy that all plots  be serviced before allocation.  At no man’s land for example, roads were constructed, drains provided, water pipes were laid, central  sewage constructed and sewage dispenser made available.

UDB plans all lands before they are developed, they also advise the governor on which land to be allocated for which purpose.  The sharada and challawa industrial estates were planned as suggested by the metropolitan Kano, the challawa for wet industries and sharada for dry industries.  Resistance was strong against the board, people were crying blue murder as their plots were refused development, others already constructed were demolished, the criticism was considered a passing phase, that people will come to appreciate the work of the board, but people have stuck to that habit till today.

As a matter of fact, the Kundila housing estate, which was later constructed by the board in 1971 was planned to have its central sewage with a treatment plant, so that wastes can be utilised.  The board also implemented the trevallions report’s suggestion that two industrial areas sharada and challawa be serviced for distribution to various industrial concerns that wish to set up in Kano.  A sewerage, roads, electricity, water supply, were all provided.  The board had also commenced survey of the kurmi market with a view to modernising it, so that its commercial longevity is sustained in the face of modernisation and expansion in and around it.


Due to rising need for quality accommodation especially of civil servants in the state, the state government as early as 1969 started construction of houses to serve this purpose.  The government realised also that the quality of life of civil servants and working classes of the people of Kano could be improved through the provision of a well planned, formidable and viable housing project that are easily affordable and accessible, coupled with the provision of adequate infrastructural facilities such as electricity, potable water supply, schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, recreational facilities, sewage and refuse disposal.  Construction of junior staff housing schemes began with Bagauda in two series, the first is Bagauda dam housing estate at dakatsalle, while the second is Bagauda lake hotel staff quarters with 138 junior staff quarters, 17 police quarters and two senior staff quarters.  Tiga workers village has 500 housing units to house construction workers at tiga dam, houses were also built for the kadawa pilot farm.  In Hadejia and Gumel quarters were also constructed to accommodate junior staff.

As for senior staff quarters, 3 bedroom houses were constructed at Suleiman crescent, and WRECA at challawa,  some were also made for gari dam.  Another important development was the Kundila housing units.  6 houses were made at Kusalla dam.  The pilgrim camp with 130 units, was also constructed to serve as transit camp for intending pilgrims.  The governor in his policy statement address of 1972, promised teachers their quarters, which were later constructed after the coup of 1975 at gwammaja to complement the UPE program, was the first attempt and probably the only one to offer genuine concern for teachers shelter needs in the state.  Other quarters built include 3 and 2 bedroom quarters at tiga and kadawa, other 2 bedroom senior staff quarters were also built at Bagauda.  In far away Lagos, blocks of flats were built at Waziri Ibrahim crescent, victoria island, to serve the needs of senior civil servants from Kano state.

Administrative Buildings

Various office buildings were constructed in Kano as these facilities were virtually non existent when the state was created. One of the first developments was the expansion of the government house, an office building was attached to the old Elizabeth house which served as the accommodation for the governor, while guest houses were constructed within the premises, both Africa house and Naser house constructed to accommodate state guests were flamboyantly finished.  The metropolitan area headquarters [gidan Murtala] was conceived in 1971 to accommodate the increasing number of staff and provide a befitting head quarters for the metropolitan administrative area.  The structure which is 7 storey high  with 200 fully air conditioned offices to accommodate 600 officers has an extensive car park at sub basement level.  Construction was completed in 1974 at the cost of N3 million.  The second phase of the gidan Murtala project, was a conference room, to seat 600, this was however not constructed.

Seven other offices were opened in the rest of the administrative areas, the constructions were necessary in order to  administer the areas efficiently.  The office blocks accommodate a district officer and representatives of ministries, most of these blocks were completed in 1971 at the cost of 80,000 each.  The need to have a central office for all state ministries became quite apparent with the growing number of civil servants.  Ministries were scattered  all over before the take over of the NNMB along post office road, even with the building, there was need to provide a bigger place with space for expansion, so the idea of the secretariat was conceived.

The building of the secretariat, to be completed in phases was situated between Zaria and Sabo bakin zuwo roads, it contains eleven linked departments with a total floor area of 423,000 sq ft comprising 500 offices, construction commenced on phase 1 early in 1974 and 3,442,620 was earmarked for it.  Another building constructed in the same area was the state high court of justice, a 3 storey building with a total floor area of 15,000 sq ft and contains shariah court, four magistrate courts, two high courts with respective administration department, library and prison cells all fully air conditioned. Area courts were also built at Roni, Gagarawa Kiyawa and gwagwarwa.

In 1970 the state government took over the native authority controlled UAC fire service due to increasing responsibility on the authority, almost immediately, the governor mobilised his engineers and soon the fire service headquarters was built, directly opposite gidan murtala.  The office was to serve as a nerve center for combating fire outbreaks within Kano.  It has a 100ft tall watch tower which doubles as a 20.000 gallon water tank, the office cost the state government 200.000.


By 1968, Kano had taxis plying all roads, 2 parks existed; at fagge near the present round about and another  at the present yan kwanoni, where taxis can be chartered, but routine taxi service was non existent.  With the creation of the state, there was ample need for more of this taxis.  But to worsen matters, all taxis left Kano because of the civil war, so the state was left there.  That prompted the government to take immediate action.  The Kano Cooperative Federation was contacted with a view to using part of their deposit as loan to the government for the purchase of total of 37 cars for the sum of 69,846.00.  The loan was granted and the cars bought.  The cars brought the much needed relief in the sector.  There were later handed over to the Kano State Transport Corporation.

After the creation of the Corporation, the state government negotiated for the provision of ten buses from Saviem Company of France.  The buses which were popularly called golden arrow were bought with promissory notes spread over to end in 1980.  The buses were purchased to serve inter and intra city commuter needs.  Also under the Corporation’s water section, the two boats bought for 400,000.00 to serve tourist interests at the tiga dam were managed.

Motor parks were also designed back then at Zaria Road and Katsina Road.   Each motor park was to have a motel for passengers arriving in the middle of the night, a mini-market and bus and taxi stop outside, where on arrival, passengers can board to any place they which to go.

Kano State Television System (Present NTA Kano)

The present NTA, formerly called KSTS, was initiated by Audu Bako himself.  It was part of the terms of reference for the tourism committee chaired by Alhaji Tanko Yakasai.  It could be remembered that the committee was set-up along with others before the formal creation of the state.  Page Communications Engineers Inc., a subsidiary of Northrop Corporation of Washington was awarded contract for the feasibility studies of the television system, the report was submitted on the 21st of January 1971 to the state government.  The report spells out the broadcast service area of the system as Kano, Kazaure, Gumel, Hadejia, Rano, Birnin Kudu, Sumaila, Riruwai and Gwarzo.

While the television center is tom comprise of a studio complex and transmitting facility, and outside broadcast van was to be provided.  An architectural plan was also attached to the report.  When it reached the Governor, he considered the time it will take to construct the new building, he started searching for a suitable place that could be immediately converted.  The present NTA office which was initially the property of Alhaji Sanusi Dantata that was bought by the State Government and converted to serve as Ministry of Information was considered.  At this time phase of the Audu Bako Secretariat was ready so information staff were moved down and the NTA project commenced.  In the meantime BBC has been contracted to supply all machinery and equipment for the TV house through Crown agents.  But since the proposal was drawn during civil war constraints imports of equipments had to wait until after the war.  The station started operation and continued unabated until the 1975 coup when Murtala’s Federal Government took it over to serve as Nigerian Television.

Other Information Outlets

These includes daily bulletins from the Ministry of Information, daily public enlightenment campaigns via campaign vans.  The Ministry was also equipped with a comprehensive radio studio, a picture gallery, and complete film unit.  Infact most of these equipments over 20 years old now are still functioning.  Television centres were also constructed in rural areas.  The printing press which was taken over by the state government had new buildings constructed and modern equipments bought.  These was to strengthen the oldest printing press north of the Niger.

Rural Electrification Board

The Board was set up by Edict No.1 of 1973 of 1st January 1973 and shouldered with the responsibility for establishing and managing electrical undertakings in those parts of the state where NEPA does not maintain electrical undertaking or installation.  It was also charged with the responsibility of generating, transmitting, transforming and selling electricity either in bulk or to individual consumers.  Audu Bako’s midas touch in this area did not end with the establishment of the Board for by 1974 3 towns namely, Hadejia, Gumel and Kazaure, the seats of the important emirates were electrified, by the time there were commissioned in 1974 work has reached an advanced stage in the electrification of five more towns namely, Gwarzo, Dambata, Birnin Kudu, Mallam Madori, and Rano (though in Rano only the hospital and the administrative headquarters were supplied at that time).  By July 1975 99% of the project has been completed.

The plan of the government was to electrified all towns of Kano State within the second and third development plan periods.  Decision to electrify 30 more towns was reached on 12 of February 1975 between the Military Governor and a German Engineering Firm.  The electrification was to be in two phases.  The first phase involving ten towns namely, Ringim, Gaya, Tudun Wada, Karaye, Kura, Sumaila, Wudil, Garko, Gwaram and Dutse.  Incidentally, four of the towns fall in the present Jigawa State while the remaining six are in Kano.

The contract was awarded to Nitraco Limited to electrify the ten towns at a cost of 6,967,239 in appreciation the company offered to assist REB in technical cooperation, it also agreed to send and sponsor four students to study electrical engineering in any Nigerian University.  The company also promised to sponsor two post graduates students studying various aspects of rural distribution of electricity while studying the company will be responsible for their salaries.

When it became apparent that the state was short of funds, the company agreed to construct on contractor-finance basis.  An agreement to that effect was signed on 15th of May, 1975.  The project on the 20 towns phase two which was not started before the coup include that of Kaffin Hausa, Roni, Yankwashi, Dawakin Kudu, Kumbotso, Kiri Kasamma, Guri, Birniwa, Auyo, Babura, Bulangu, Jahun, Kiru, Ungogo, Gezawa, and Zakirai.  The rest include Minjibir, Amaryawa, Danzomo, and Gagarawa.  Apart from all these, a power house was constructed and commissioned by Alhaji Audu Bako in 1974.  The power was to be supplied to the Bagauda Lake Hotel and WRECA installations at Tiga.


The 1952 population census shows that only 0.5% of the total population of Kano province was literate in Roman script with total population of 2.5 million, only 23,405 can read and write Roman script.  This has no doubt limited progress in the economic  and social life of Kano people, but  they can read and write  other scripts like Arabic.  Distribution of School attendance shows that the school aged attending school is only 5.0% and 2.5% for Kano city and rural areas respectively.

Though the Northern Nigeria Government took a giant stride to rectify this shortfall, little success was really achieved. The largest single item on the fiscal development plan of 1962-68 was education. Impressive increases were planned for  primary, post primary, technical and University education.

By 1968, the School age attendance percentage of 5% still remained for Kano  This was the facade met by the Audu Bako Government, that necessitated the special  note in his maiden address.

“Kano State is backward in the field of modern education, we must do everything to improve quality and quantity. Training institution will be set up, technical  education promoted and strict competition will be encouraged”.

As the achievement prone Government was wont to do, it has turned the fate of education around by 1975.

The State in its second development plan of 1970-74 planned to achieve a 15% school attendance for the school aged children of Kano state. The first method employed was the expansion of schools and employment of more teachers. Thirty one primary schools were built in 1970 and to teach them, the Ministry employed about 300 G.II teachers from the south.  The effort did not fully succeed as most of the teachers ran back due to apparent discomfiture as the civil war has just ended.  A crash program  had to be employed to fill vacancies in the classes. The Ministry initiated the posting of primary 5 pupils to teach in lower classes of primary school. And the construction  in the same year of 153 primary schools led to an unprecedented increase in enrolments for the year 1973 as 97, 380 pupils were enrolled, 100% of the 1968 figure of 49,532. By 1974, the 15% literacy rate has been achieved.

The KEDC, opened in 1969 from the remains of the Ibo Grammar schools was intended to satisfy the immediate need of teachers. 24 classes were opened the first year as against the 2 classes in the schools. The first set of GII teachers were released in 1974 from the school before the remaining students were distributed to Rumfa, Technical and KTC for secondary school Grammar. Technical and Grade II courses respectively. To give way for the commencement of the college of Advanced  studies.

A projected figure of 361 primary schools for Kano for the year 1972 was made by Trevallions “Metropolitan Kano” broken as:

Urban –           115

Rural              –           13


A supplementary program was also projected to meet the backlog in educational facilities between 1962-72 by the construction of 68 primary schools for urban Kano and 65 for rural areas, totalling 133. Both projected figure of 128 and 133 have been met by the State Government and beaten by a whopping 68 primary schools.

1962   –     72 projected  – 361 primary schools

1972 realised figures     – 379 primary schools

The year 1974 was to end the development plan. The 15% literacy rate earlier  projected has been achieved. Though unexpected financial problems rocked the whole  nation in the wake of Udoji awards, high inflation rate and the like.

The State was only able to open twenty one new primary schools with an enrolment of only 100,109 – an increase of only about 3000 pupils in the whole State  in that year. But this slight disappointment gave way to the success that the Ministry  was used to, in 1975 the ministry was back again as it enrolled 140,119 and added 58 new schools to accommodate the excess. A total of 370 primary schools were built between 1970-75.

The success of primary education in tightly married to the effort of the state in producing quality teachers most which are grade III earlier  but Grade II later. The first school built by the state Government was the KEDC at Gwagwarwa. Which was  earlier discussed, Gwarzo, Rano, Danbatta and Gwale then almost immediately followed  The last three were taken over from Kano LEA. A lot of emphasis was laid between 1970-74 on the construction of post primary schools, as twenty one new ones were constructed during the period under review with admissions rising from 8114 in 1970 to 14,118 in 1974.Teachers were employed from Britain to improve the staff quality  and strength.

In order for the state to make a significant headway in post primary education  ,its importance was married to the immediate need of the state, the need to improve the literacy level. That was what all teacher training colleges were trained for. That also  explain why teacher education was given prominence. In the 1975-80 development plan, the state planned the improvement of the literacy level from 15% to 25%, at that time TC II holders were highly encouraged to go for NCE, so that post primary school tutors proliferate.

Science and technical-oriented courses were also encouraged at the secondary  school level. Vocational Improvement Centre was setup in both the KEDC and the technical college in training prospective candidates for professional expertise in various technical fields. The centres were introduced with assistance from the ford foundation. The National Science doyens, the Dawakin Kudu and Dawakin Tofa were  also established during the period under review. Successful candidates after graduation get admission and scholarship into universities at home and abroad, other  science students from secondary schools join them in the universities to study medicine, engineering and other professional courses.

This developments made the state indigens aware of the Governments efforts  in the improvement of literacy and they decided to donate and build three post primary schools in 1970 the schools built are Gaya, Bagauda, and Lautai under the Kano Educational Trust. Private schools like St. Thomas and St. Lious were assisted by the State Government. The establishment of Ahmadiyya Secondary School was also  assisted by the state Government .It was also made a policy that teachers who proceed for NCE retain their salary.  This was  applauded as many teachers have become breadwinners and cannot garner enough resources for further education especially outside Kano. This led to a dramatic increase in the number of TC II teachers that went for NCE courses. Another  policy which confirmed the states commitment at improving educational standards while at the same time bettering the welfare of teachers is the revocation of the law which stipulate two years teaching engagement of NCE before proceeding for degree courses. After NCE, teachers became free to proceed immediately to university for their  Degree program, and with their salaries too.

The State encouraged its post primary school teachers to apply to the School  of Basic Studies of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. The Higher School Certificate, which produces only a few admissions was relegated as the SBS provides  more admissions.

In the area of adult education, the State encourages people to learn to read and write. Evening classes were opened in many areas in the city and in some rural areas.  To improve the activities of the evening schools a traditional library was opened at Durumin Iya in the city. Most of the graduates at that time were included in the two-week crash programme that taught the UPE pupils in the State in 1976.

The idea of a state university was hatched by the state Government in 1973 to boost the literacy level more. The KEDC was to form the nucleus of the university with the availability of a large number of classes. The idea started with the setting up of the College for Advanced Studies to pretest secondary school certificate holders before admission  into degree courses.    The college commenced operation in 1974.

Some institutions were set up to complement the activities of the ministry of education, these are the scholarship board, the state library and the KERD. The Kano Educational Resource Department (formerly In-service Training Centre) was set up in  1970 to serve as inspectorate division for the state Ministry. The scholarship board disbursed funds to all indigens of Kano State that gained admissions into institutes  of higher learning whether at home or abroad. It was established in 1968 and by 1974  was able to sponsor 1903 candidates at home and 231 abroad, both cost the State  Government N2,564,000.

The state library was also established in 1969 to provide services to  the growing number of literates in Kano. It was set up from resources of the regional library Kaduna. 9000 volumes were given to the library by ICSA. Thousands of books were added to the  library stock every year and thousands were borrowed by subscribers every year.  Membership also continued to rise.

Universal Free Primary Education was introduced by the Gowon Administration. The scheme planned massive intakes in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.  In Kano State. The scheme was married to the progress already achieved in the 70-74 Development plan to enrol 15% of school aged children  in the school. Renovation of many new schools and classes such that each child can  attend a school within one mile of his residence. In the Kano state plan -20 new secondary schools were billed for construction, 7 technical and secondary schools for  the handicapped. Increased grants were also to be given to seven voluntary Agency Schools. A total of 21,840 classes were to be constructed in primary schools and 974 in teacher training colleges. The gigantic plan was taken over by the Murtala Mohammed Regime.


By  1968 when the state was created, there were only five General hospitals, two health training  institutions, twenty Doctors, 683 beds and  three Government dispensaries.

The Ministry Of Health was set up to provide as quickly as possible, satisfactory preventive and curative health services within the reach of all members  of the community to temper the existing dearth of the facilities at that  time, the state  government commenced construction of two more  general hospitals, one each  in Kazaure and Gumel to balance the unequitable distribution of city (murtala), nassarawa, Hadejia, Birnin kudu. The fifth early Hospital, Dambatta which was completed by the Northern Nigeria Government before the 1966  coup with  Assistance from Canada  was only commissioned by Govenor Bako in 1968. City hospital was immediately  renovated and  improved with the construction of 60 bed maternity  wards, a nursery, an operating theatre, staff quarters and other amenities. The improvement was informed by the inadequacy of the hospital to cater for the deliveries of the ever-growing Kano metropolis, Women were said to deliver on thin mattresses spread on the floor, a health and medical  auxiliaries training school was opened at infectious Diseases hospital  on France  road to train personnel for intermediate knowledge in caring for wounds and  minor  ailments.

Nassarawa, which was hitherto an exclusive hospital was turned into a government staff hospital in 1971 to cater  for the  staff of the state government that are rapidly growing in number, facilities provided by its expansion include a new out- patient department, private  wards, VIP rooms, casualty theatre, Xray  department, pharmacy, ante-natal, infant welfare  and ophthalmic center, a resident doctors office was also  provided.  The present imposing  structure that house most  of the in-patients at the hospital was designed  and planned  for construction in the 3rd development plan, in  fact, equipment were already purchased for the construction before the 1975 coup. Mortuary services equipment bought at that  time are still not  exhausted.

By  1972, five new general hospitals were opened in Kano, Gwarzo, Dawakin – kudu, Tiga and  Wudil. Though Rano and Gwarzo were constructed by the ministry in 1969 as a  health center and now upgraded to hospital. This gives a total of fourteen (14) hospitals and the distribution of hospitals had reached each administrative area in the state.

A Basic health program introduced by the Federal Government as recommended by the world Health organisation was commissioned in Kano in 1974. The program which was tagged the 1-4-32-1 formula entails the provision of Health facilities in  each  state  through a square form with a Urban Health  centre in the middle, each Health centre will  have 32 beds and it co-ordinates the activities of  four rural health  centres situated  at four equidistant  parts of the planned area,  from  the  centres. The 32 rural  health  clinics were to be distributed  within the confines of the  four centres.  the last arm  of the program is a mobile clinic which was to move round the provided villages to fill gaps and take care of complaints between the clinics and centres. The first set of four centres chosen was Kafin Hausa, Ringim, Kunchi and Bichi. The state has made plans to  build all the Rural centres and clinics for the program within a short time, by 1975, only about 15 clinics and rural centres were completed when the  in-coming administration abandoned it.

In Metropolitan Kano, the need arose for another  large Hospital  as Murtala (city) was proving inadequate. The idea of the present Aminu  Kano teaching Hospital was then  conceived, it was to  be constructed at the present BUK permanent site on  Gwarzo  road and was to provide 500 beds. Four acres of land was provided and it will consist   of  a  main administrative block and staff quarters, general out patient department, and maternity,  it was then to  cost state Government 35 million Naira. As a matter of fact survey  work has been completed, the sum of N600,000 has  been paid as compensation to farmers  using  the place.

The present site of the  Hospital was meant  for the school of Nursing and midwifery  of the Hospital (as each General Hospital comes with its own). The former Zaria motor park  adjacent the school was slated for the construction  of  Doctors quarters.  Other places were also provided for Nurses, midwives  and Hospital administrative  staff. The  present Dental clinic and new infections Diseases Hospital were also planned along with  the Hospital, all these were included in the 3rd Development  plan.

In the provision of Health posts, health units, centres and clinics, the state has been  covered successfully, upgrading of health facilities took place within two years or less  by the state Government. Tiga, Doguwa, Dawakin -Tofa and Tofa were health posts  that were upgraded to health clinics in 1973, Bichi, Rano,  Gumel, Mallam-Madori  and Birniwa were health clinics  turned  health centres. Others were Ringim, Kura, Wudil, Dutse, Kunya, and Gwaram. New General hospitals were also planned for Babura and Jahun.

Area health units were also  provided for each administrative area to take charge of  preventive health services and provision of constant supervision on Health centres.  The units take charge of spraying all nooks and corners  with insecticides to get rid  of  mosquitoes,  flies, cockroaches and other harmful insects. Immunization  was also   taken  seriously to deal with all major diseases, vaccinations were also done on patients of small pox, in fact, small pox was completely eradicated by 1970 with the  help of the world Health Organisation. The organisation even fixed a prize money for  any small pox case found in Kano. People were also inoculated for some diseases  like cholera. The people of Kano remain living witnesses to all these efforts.

In the area of leprosy, the Yadakunya leprosy hospital, a missionary  outfit was assisted  by the state government financially,  each time the Netherlands leprosy Doctors arrive, Governor Bako personally  keeps in touch with them till they leave. Lectures were introduced for the lepers  in order to educate them.  They were  sometimes taught even under  trees but  close to their homes so they don’t have to  walk long distances. Due to his interest in the welfare of these disadvantaged people,  Audu Bako planned for the take over of the leprosarium at Yadakunya. The plan  was  included  in the 3rd National plan. Other areas of health that Kano benefitted  during  his time is the Malaria project of the World Health organisation.  The organisation chose Nigeria as a case study and Kano state was chosen for the study. The project  was aimed at a complete research into the activity  of mosquitoes and the malaria parasite, experts were chosen from thirteen countries, the project  involve the picking  of mosquitoes  after sucking blood from people in a natural  setting.  The scheme would be  repelled in an average society of the 1970s as the experts enter bedrooms  in the middle of the night when occupants were asleep,  but true understanding of the  people, could be explained as their own contribution to the all round acceptance of the project.  Two areas, Kano and Garki were the centres used for the project.

Mosquitoes caught from either Garki  village or Kano metropolis  are taken straight  to the Airport and flown to  Rome(Italy) where the facilities are available for the research. The result of the research showed that only the anopheles mosquitoes carry the malaria parasite, and only an eight day old can carry the parasite therefore if the eight day  old anopheles mosquitoes could be wiped out or stopped from carrying the parasite,  the world  will be free malaria.

Relics of the program exist in Kano and Garko, the  school of Health technology is   today situated in  the building made for the project. With the development of Dams and water treatment plants, cases of Guinea  worm and other water borne diseases  suddenly plummeted as people now had potable water to drink. As a matter of fact,  water borne diseases were not a problem to the state government as they do not proliferate at all.

In the provision of health personnel, Doctors were employed from abroad to augment  locals, medical and paramedical staff of hospitals were also trained in crash programs

to contain the increase in patients ,by 1969, the health and medical auxiliaries training  school was opened, Schools of Nursing were opened for General Hospitals in Birnin  Kudu, Hadejia and Dambatta. A medical store was opened for the storage of vaccines and other drugs. The store came complete  with modern facilities and a cold  room. It is situated  opposite Radio Kano.


Kano has been the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria from time immemorial. This has  accorded Kano people the flair for enterprise.  So with the creation of a Ministry  to take full charge of commerce and Industry when the state  was created in 1968, Another milestone has been planted. There were only 65 industrial establishment then, located in the old Industrial estate along mission,  club  and maganda roads at bompai. This could not be said to be impressive, as six years  earlier in 1962, when the first development plan commenced operation, there were 60  industries.

The state then had to invite external businessmen to visit Kano  and take advantage  of its economic potentialities, while also educating the local businessmen on the importance of investing in industry.

The state Government in 1970 sent an economic mission to visit five countries England, USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and Germany, in order to explore the states industrial  potential and to negotiate partnership with any interested industrialist who might be   willing to come to Kano and establish their business. The team which was made up  of the commissioner for finance, Aminu Dantata, secretary to the state Government Audi Howeidy, permanent secretary economic planning Aliyu Daneji, economic adviser  M. M. Shazly and A. Sambo from Military Governors Office to serve as secretary, the  commissioner for economic planning. Alhaji Aminu Dantata was the leader of the team  Approximately twenty  companies were visited within the twenty nine days of the trip.  In all the  teams General conclusion was that most of the foreign investors fear  was  related to the restriction order passed by Federal Government on foreign trade  and  exchange, or insecurity  due to fear of nationalization as was common in African countries.  They therefore urged on the  state Government to call on the Federal Government to relax the order. The missions success was accentuated  by the Governments promulgation of the antagonization decree of 1972. Which spelt out that  expatriates can form companies in association with Nigerians on a 60-40 participation for large  scale. 40-60 for medium and  0-100 for small scale business  concerns respectively. This dispelled the fear of  the prospective investors.

The huge response from the companies led to the closure of the Bompai Industrial  Estate, before  then, Raleigh, flour mills, an aluminium company, mentholatum and  Glucose manufacturing, agric  machinery and others were conceived. Local businessmen also responded to Governments call  by establishing companies; maktaba printing press, Mainasara and sons, Nigeria Industrial group company, Nigerian suiting manufacturers. Northern states Development corporation.

As a result of the congestion at Bompai, Government commissioned the challawa and sharada Industrial Estates. It could be observed that the development of  Kano demands this expansion, as even the railway lines made for  the Bompai have now constituted an eyesore for road Traffic on central Hotel-Audu Bako way round-about.   Hadejia road and Murtala Mohammed way. The Bompai Industrial area had also   toxicated Jakara River and Dam completely. The two Industrial estates were situated  by the Kaduna-Kano railway line for easy on-loading and off-loading of Industrial material requirements, the two industrial estate were also situated close to the challawa River. Drainage systems were supplied before lands were allocated, all other services were also provided; roads, electricity and water. The Challawa industrial estate was situated along the challawa river, so that effluent of wet Industries like Tanneries and soft drink manufacturers could be easily contained while Dry Industries were given the Sharada which was far away from the  river as their need was only of minor  drainage systems. By 1975, There were over 100 Industrial establishments in Kano.

The Kano state Investments  limited was set up under provision of the company Decree of 1968. It was set up in October 1971 and became certificated in February 1972.

The company was set up with a capital of  half a million Pounds to carry on the bossiness of assisting entrepreneurs engaged in Industry, Commerce and Agriculture and the exploitation of natural resources. The company was also mandated to create and modernise business that fall under its objective areas. Some of the objectives of the company include contributing towards further stimulation  of Industrial and commercial growth of Kano. By way of direct equity investments, provision of medium and long term loans for suitable projects and provision of technical assistance to indigenous local entrepreneurs. The company also assist them to adopt modern approaches to investments.

With the Establishment of the company many manufacturing concerns were set up and shares were acquired in quoted and unquoted companies. It was evident though at that time that the people of Kano state do not buy shares. So the company had to buy shares in companies on behalf of the people of the state. The company also gave out loans to small scale Industrialists and co-operative associations up to 1974 when the cooperative Bank was set up.

By 1975, the Kano state Government through the KSIL  had become shareholder in many companies and had even become major share holder in  many others. In all, Kano state become part owner  in thirty one companies including, Nigeria suiting manufacturers, seven up, BEWAC, Fawaz steel wood, Leventis motors, Leventis stores, and Northern Nigeria flour mills, others include:-

Kano state oil and allied products ltd.

Cinema Distribution circuit ltd.

Kano Citizens trading company.

Kano Midwest co. ltd

Kano Entertainment co ltd.

Nigeria Electrical fittings ltd.

Kano State insurance co ltd.

Nigeria Victory Assurance co ltd

B.K.L Building and civil Engineering co ltd

Continental lines (shipping)

Northern sawmill and furniture manufacturing. co ltd.

Balmore Trading co ltd.

Steel Constructions co ltd.

Northern Steel ltd.

Aluminium Products ltd.

United Nigeria textiles ltd.

R.T. Briscoe ltd.

Cement co. of Northern Nigeria ltd.


Stirling Astaldi Nigeria ltd.

Oil Transport company ltd.

Nigeria Hotels ltd.

Kano Dying and printing. ltd.

Bank of the North ltd.

Kano State was also able to fully own: twelve establishments. These are:-

Kano state Investments co. ltd.

Kundila Housing Estate.

Donbar Air conditioning and Refrigeration services.

Textile commodities ltd.

Kano Textile printers.

Kano state Ginnery.

The Hotel Group.

Bagauda lake Hotel.

Kano state Hotel.

Magwan Water Restaurant.

Kano cooperative shop.

General Mining Company.

In the area of co-operative societies, the state inherited hundreds on its creation. So the state encouraged them by offering specialised advise and loans for various projects they wish to undertake. The state also  continued to create facilities which enhance the growth of such cooperative societies to a stage of self sufficiency. In order for the state to encourage the spirit of enterprise among the societies, cooperative shops were  opened at Kazaure, Dambatta, Hadejia, Rano, Gwarzo, Birnin Kudu, Kiyawa, Jahun, Doguwar-giginya, Dutse, Tudun Wada and Gumel. A large superstore was also opened in Kano to serve the interest of these cooperative societies. The Cooperative Bank (now Tropical Commercial Bank) was set up in 1974. Cooperative societies have shares in it and it in turn provides them with Agricultural loans and Produce purchase advance to market their products. Other loans given them include:

Cultivation  loans, fertilizer loans, livestock development loans, consumer Trading, and drought relief.

In the Commerce sector, the state organises seminars and public enlightenment campaigns to the business community on trade activities. The state also promote internal- external trade and create facilities to enhance promotion.

The state was committed to foreign and indigenous investors in terms of provision of facilities and other forms of assistance to foreign investors, sometimes by bringing them into contact with local businessmen who they may wish to join in partnerships.

The organising of Trade fairs and settling of Trade dispute between shareholders and companies are other areas of the state Government assistance through its Commerce Ministry.

In conclusion it would be worthy of note that Alhaji Aminu Dantata was the only commissioner to have sponsored the whole staff of his Ministry to pilgrimage (from his pocket) to Saudi  Arabia in three batches, non Muslims in the Ministry were given cash equivalents of what the Muslim were given.


This area is a major interest  of Alhaji Bako. For he is a man who thinks ahead.  He considered what Kano would be twenty years later without any recreational facility. He was reported to move around Kano mostly without his driver to see for himself what happens in  Kano. At one of such wanderings, he noticed that  the people of Kano stay out doors mostly in the evenings, sometime friends park by road sides and spread  their mats to rest. That was why he planned the amusement park which was later considered a prestige project and consequently abandoned. The Kano stadium plan which the writer has seen is also lying waste, preparations were in high gear to construct  it a 35.400 seater, the stadium was to cost the state about N2.0m. Many other projects of Audu Bako remained a dream. But even then, a lot has been achieved by him in this area. Audu Bako is a man who combined service delivery with bossiness enterprise he never want to leave a project idle. That was why most of the water resource projects in Kano provide more than just water. Bagauda the first water  supply Dam for Kano metropolis gulped about 400,000 pounds so in order to recover the money in earnest, Audu conceived the idea of a Hotel on a flat turf by the Dam. It was named Bagauda lake Hotel N3.5m was spent to provide 348 rooms, a conference Hall which Hosts national and international conferences, modern facilities for entertainment, sports and recreation, Donkeys, Horses and  camels were provided for interested guests to ride. The 310 acre Hotel also has an 80 seater restaurant block, 4 VIP suites to accommodate 16 people, 50 round Huts with accommodation capacity of 200, double and 25 pairs of single chalets to accommodate 132 guests, a 100ft 6- lane swimming pool with underwater lights. The Night club offers a panoramic view of the lake, sandy beach Marina, centre and Holiday resort itself, an open air theatre with a seating capacity of 462, a kiosk accommodating a boutique, beauty salon, barbers shop and a bank all fully air conditioned. The Hotel also has a laundry, police station, workshops, radio room. 138 junior staff Houses, 17 police staff houses, and 2 Senior staff Houses. The Hotel has a good network of roads and drives its own water supply and filtration system. There is also a Golf course, children pool, riding school, offices and library.

This Hotel had enjoyed the privilege of paying itself many times over. The state Government had therefore accepted Bagauda as a revenue earner for the state Government. Bagauda will forever be remembered as the tourist eye-catcher in Kano.

Magwan water restaurant was designed along with a 1 million gallon water tank, The enterprising Bako thought it unwise to waste the tank, and the area for the tank had to be opened for traffic because it was all bush hence the construction of Audu Bako way. So the restaurant consisting of a bar, confectionery  and restaurant were constructed around the tank at a larger circumference and suspended above the ground. The siting, on a rocky area on the highest point of western Kano in a 50 acre site, caters for some 300 visitors fully air conditioned. The premises was finished to a high standard with landscaped gardens surrounding it with the provision of children playground. The project, completed June 1973 cost the state government 450.000.

Magwan swimming pools, situated in the same complex with the magwan restaurant has 4 pools, 7ft main, 144 diving, 4ft non swimmer and 2ft children pool changing room and toilet facilities to cater  for 600 visitors, together with a garden bar.  The project also cost the state 240.660.

The dual services were provided with floodlights, a transformer and an electricity generator. The initial basis of the restaurant, the tank is now idle, it was used to store and distribute water to nassarawa, G.R.A. hotoro and other areas in that direction but today even the restaurant facility it self does not have water, within 500 meters radius has been suffering from water shortage for ages now. The swimming pools are virtually empty. The place is now a shadow of its former self, in its heydays, the place was a jump 24 hours a day but due to dwindling services, lack of constant supply of water, it no more is, rust is everywhere in the facility. State governments that follow were more concerned with starting new projects than maintaining old ones.

Catering rest houses built in administrative headquarters were also Audu Bako’s brainchild. Important visitors to the administrative areas must be accommodated in special guest houses, so the idea of constructing the rest houses was immediately realized, Hadejia, Birnin kudu, Kazaure, Gumel, and Karaye got one each. Each of  the facility contains 14 bedrooms, 80 seat restaurant, service  block, lounge and bar each cost the state government 106,000 pounds

The Kano State Hotel, (Daula) was conceived at a time when accommodation facilities for government and commercial representatives visiting Kano as a commercial center and tourist attraction was increasing by the day. The hotel was therefore constructed to serve this purpose. containing a reception, lounge, bar, restaurant, conference room ,night club and kitchen etc, two storey bedroom block containing 192 bedrooms with bathrooms for VIP accommodation,  self contained units and swimming pool are also provided. The project was completed in 1975 at a cost of 2.8m.

Tiga Rock Castle Hotel was primarily built to accommodate the Queen of England  who’s visit was billed for 1975 and her first port of call was to be Kano. The facility was constructed on a hill overlooking tiga dam, a perfect view! the facility was changed to a hotel after the 1975 coup which led to the postponement of the queens visit.

The transit pilgrims camp is the first attempt to provide intending pilgrims with suitable transit accommodation. The construction was completed in 1972 and utilized up to date. It contains 130 housing units, each comprised three rooms, kitchen, bath, latrine and an enclosed courtyard. The unit is designed to cater for 10 persons, roof overhangs, pedestrian walks were also made.

The entire  grouping of the houses is made around a large central space with a covered market place where occupant can purchase what they need and where traders can display their wares, at the right side of the camp, a dispensary was provided to provide patients with necessary medical treatment.

Rest parks throughout the G.R.A were constructed during his tenure and they depict his interest in recreation.


Social welfare structures were in existence before the 1966 coup. The Tudun maliki refomery school was established in the 1950’s by the Kano Native  Authority. The same goes for the Dawakin kudu leprosy center, Bichi blind centre and Dorayi destitute centre, the then shahuci blind center was converted in 1960’s to the shahuchi old people’s home to cater for out -patients of murtala hospital who came from far away and had to stay a number of days in Kano.

With the change of government and the subsequent creation of state. the former N.A social welfare office was merged with the newly created ministry of health to form ministry of health and social welfare. The social welfare office at that time had 10 members of staff consisting of one senior social welfare officer, five social welfare assistants, one clerk one messenger and two stadium assistants.

In 1968, social welfare office was moved along with the ministry of health to the Nigerian Marketing Board building at post office road because of the expansion of the office as emergency relief, pilgrims welfare and child welfare all became part of the responsibilities of the social welfare division . The responsibilities of the three units that had bolstered the image of the division were extricated from it by later governments. Though the emergency relief agency was introduced in the state by federal government design in 1973.

In the area of begging, government was keenly interested from the scratch. in his maiden address, the military governor pointed out that people must watch “the indolent people who feel complacent by living only on charity, it is people who belong to this group that we must awaken from their slumber and insist on their doing a good days job before they could earn their living. I am not of course having in mind those who are in one way or the other incapacitated, for the lame and blind, my government will explore ways and means of giving them the best possible assistance”.

Exactly 2 months after his maiden address, a Kano community chest was introduced and donation from philanthropic individual amounting to 7,500 pounds was collected with intent on clearing beggars off streets. The launching was chaired by the Emir of Kano. A year later in July 1969 the governor called for the introduction of annual levies on taxable adults to get enough money for the activities of the National Society  for the Welfare of the Disabled. Moves like this were not usually supported by the people of the state because of the near reverence they give to the begging culture and Alhaji Audu, being more democratic then autocratic always considered the general feeling of the state in all matters that affect them, may be that explain why begging still pervade our daily life.

Before the arrival of Beth Torrey, an American, mentally retarded children were neglected in the society. some of them are even considered “yan ruwa” (water spirits) and disposed off but she arrived and went round the Kano province and beyond to collect this children and take care of them. By 1970, her house could not contain her, she therefore sought state government assistance which was immediately granted. She was moved to Tudun maliki reformery school while the school was asked  to move to kwalli, the site of the present VVF center.

In 1971 the state government realise that running cost for the three rehabilitation center at destitutes home Dorayi, home for the blind Bichi and lepers home Dawakin Kudu were becoming higher and could not be borne by the native authority much longer, so the governor took over the three offices, and the children home in  order to ensure continuity of the office. After careful assessment, expansion Gwarzo, Dambatta and Birnin Kudu. But Gumel, Kazaure and Gyadi-gyadi were to be built as second phase, each of the building consisted of six offices, two conference rooms and other necessary facilities. The programme was to build one office in metropolitan Kano and other offices in each administrative area. The design of the office was made to accommodate 14 officers and provide ancillary facilities. The community halls accommodate one hundred. The fagge welfare office was constructed and commissioned in 1972.

Inmates of the rehabilitation center were fed three times a day and given  allowances. To perfect government activity regarding the destitute in the state, a census was conducted in the same year (1971)to ascertain their number and see possible ways of centralising their activities into the mainstream of government plans and activities. census results showed that Kano had 67,601 destitutes including handicapped, homeless and abandoned babies.

Audu Bako’s interest in almost every sphere of life can be attributed to his attention to the social welfare sector, he was once said to have visited Dorayi center, seen the condition of inmates and immediately ordered the custom department to distribute bales of seized 2nd hand cloths to the inmates of all rehabilitation centres.



Audu Bako was to spend only a day in detention following the coup of July 29th  in which the government was toppled, he immediately moved into his house at Durbin Katsina road(presently occupied by KASEPPA) when one day he was suddenly told to move out as the house has been confiscated by the government. Audu moved  to Kaduna where he settled in his Aliyu makama road residence, from  here also he was moved,he moved to the Buruku farm which he owned since 1957, that was confiscated. Infact Audu Bako was said to have decided to stay and face the worst, but was re-convinced to move by his lawyer daughter, Fati, he stayed   temporarily at his sardauna crescent residence but the place was too small so he decided to move to his farm at  Danmarke and by then he had become almost empty handed, he had only his sardauna crescent house. In the farm  he lived till he died in 1980.

When he reached Danmarke, the chief of the town gave Audu his daughter Kuburatu to marry,she was with him when he died. Audu, a hardworking man by all standards started work on the place, and before long it had developed into a large farm, which also houses furniture making department and a mechanic workshop.


 The Assets investigation panel which probed Audu Bako and his lieutenants  completed its report and its recommendations to the Government were: That among  his assets, Audu Bako should retain 6 plots that he declared, 2 in Kano, 2 in Sokoto and 2 in Gusau. He is also to keep four out of his seven declared houses, He was to retain his three farms at Danmarke, Tiga and Buruku. The houses, plots and farms were in the opinion of the panel genuinely acquired. It was later that the Federal Government turned the tables around and wrote-off most of this legitimately acquired assets as illegitimate and confiscated them. It should be put on record that Audu Bako  was rich right from the start, being the son of the first most senior African in the police  force, second, being a bona fide farmer with farms since he started work as a police man. It was gathered from one of his eldest children, that he used to take them to his farm in Kasuwar Magani in Kaduna state in their early years. Fati, now a magistrate,  his second child was only twelve when Audu Bako bought the Buruku farm and she was a student of law when he became a governor. Ten years is enough for a farm to  develop to any level of greatness and it did as even before becoming a governor, Audu has almost a hundred cows, and multiples of sheeps and goats, a fully  developed poultry pen apart from the greens. While the Assets Investigation Panel recommends that he retains the farm, another Commission says he must return to the  Government about 13,000 as services of Government properly on his farm. Further  inquiry reveals that Audu Bako never used a single Government tractor on his farm as he has many already in his farm, commenting on this ,a farm hand said Tractors and other  equipment were bought from BEWAC & J Allen in Kaduna   from proceeds accruing from the sale of cotton. Before the tractors, ox-driven carts were used. Today Buruku has been completely vandalised.

The Tiga Farm was where Audu Bako had so much difficulty, when he first saw the place he inquired from the P.W.D and it was surveyed, it was found that 16 people  cultivate the place, these were compensated. Twice later 31 and 40 people came and said they owned lands there and Audu compensated them.  This was how he owned  Tiga, and the valuation of lands were done by the P.W.D, the Greatness of the Tiga  was to start when livestock were moved from the Buruku in  Kaduna to Tiga Kano as Rinderpest was affecting the cows.

Audu Bako lost all his undeclared assets which include other houses, Commercial property and shares with the exception of two plots one in Onitsha and another in Lokoja given to him by the governors of the areas, but still, it was surprising that even though the panel recommended that Audu Bako retain all his  declared shares, he was not to enjoy their benefit for the remainder of his life.

In the Kano state owned organisation and companies commission of inquiry, Audu Bako’s Government, which within the seven years of its reign succeeded in owning partially 31 fully 12 companies. (ref. – commerce and industry) was de-merited by the panel and considered most of the companies weak. Audu Bako and his respective commissioners were ordered to return huge sums of money for the weakness of the  companies, as it was put, the companies were weak as a result of the interference of the government officials. Other commissions of inquiry were set up for each of the Ministries of Agriculture and National resources, Finance, Health and social welfare and Education. The Tenders Board also got a commission of inquiry.


On the 19th of March 1976, a panel was set up by Governor Sani Bello to examine the assets of some public officers in the Audu Bako Government. The panel  submitted its report on the 30th of June 1976, and government views on the report were printed by the Government printer, Kano in May 1977.

The intent of the report as was stated was not to Witch hunt or create undue  hardship to any Public officer. The Government also agreed not to deprive officers of any assets which were acquired legally and does not appear to be in excess of his legitimate earnings (Salaries and allowances) in fact officers were expected to save  20% of their incomes. Government also took cognisance of other legitimate sources of income of the  persons concerned.

In all 25 people were examined out of which eight(8)including 3 former commissioners and two permanent secretaries were to retain their assets as their expenditure over income was not high. However 16 others were axed and most of their property confiscated. The five longest serving commissioners and reputedly the Governors closest were among the 16. Alhaji Inuwa Dutse for example had three houses, 2 of these were confiscated, and shares in four companies bought through   loans were confiscated. Alhaji Sani Gezawa lost the only house mentioned in the report as his, and shares acquired through loans. Alhaji Gauyama had three houses out of which two were confiscated, Audi Howeidy lost the houses he had in Kano. Muhammadu Kazaure lost two out of three houses and shares in six companies. Alhaji Tanko Yakasai lost three out of four houses and all his shares.

The Question of objectivity in examining the accused persons has become highly tenable due to a number of reasons.

(1)       Permanent secretaries were the accounting officers of ministries, they sign cheques and issue orders, but it was surprising to see that only three  permanent secretaries were examined. And in these, one was exonerated, one not examined as done for others while  the third did not loose anything.

(2)       Life savings of all office holders did not start in the period under review 1968-75.All of the commissioners have some level of success before appointment, some  were politicians, others businessmen who have spent at least 25 years in the service  of their motherland before appointment, so this exposes the 20% saving of all public  officers from date of appointment as a weak theory. As opposed to the permanent secretaries most of whom were on acting capacity when the  state was created, so the 20% theory would have fitted them like a globe.

(3)       Some of the officers in question have revenue generating properties even before being appointed, how does the revenue accruing from such ventures get accounted for in the 20% theory?

I would want to correct the Misconception that the officers of Audu Bako and himself are criminals, their examination was based on politics in order to give the incumbent government some level of legitimacy, the preceding one most be discredited, but the extent that was undertaken to achieve this was unfair for as far as I can see, Audu Bako and his cabinet were at least much closer to being legitimate than  any other. Even the fact that no permanent secretary was found to be corrupt, is enough reason to justify that these people lived above board.

(4)       It has also been confirmed that landed property of the accused persons were  gravely devaluated, this may be seen to be with the intent of squeezing out of them  excess of expenditure over income, else how could one explain that one of Inuwa Dutse’s houses 14A Sokoto road on rent for N9,000 per annum could be valued  at 15,000.Another, 14B which was already occupied by a tenant was written as uncompleted.

In all, 7 of out 14 commissioners were examined and four were punished; out of about 30 permanent secretaries, five were examined all were acquitted, 13 other officers of the state were  examined, including 2 General Managers, those of Rural Electrification, and Transport Corporation. The latter was to refund N859 excess of expenditure over income while the former was to refund N50,000. The chairman of the State Metropolitan Board, Alh. Umaru Yola was acquitted.

Three Expatriates examined along with other officers include Joseph Farah the General Manager of the state investment limited, who was said to have N18,000 as against a total income of N19,000, but since the panel was not able to lay hand on any other information, Government let him off the hook. From London, the panel confirmed that Mr.P.D sharma, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer at A.L.D.A had N44.00  in his account, that was translated to mean the money was in excess of his income,  government recommendation says, the money must have been “acquired through dubious ways”,no further action though was taken against Mr. Sharma. Mr. Hans Willi  was the managing Director of the State Oil Mills. He was branded as cunning by the panel, as they were unable to establish anything bad against him and recommended  to the Government to deport him from the country, government commented that since Willi had left the country, banning him from returning into Nigeria will be vigorously pursued.

This gave a sum total of all those whose assets were investigated in the Audu Bako Government. There were however other subordinate Officers who were also tried. But we are more concerned with high office holders, we must rate them at least above average. Since the panel has apparently cleared them. If 3/4 of Audu Bakos assets were returned to him, and if 3/4 of his Commissioners were clean, and if no permanent secretary was axed, and only head of parasatals was found wanting. Then it would not have been fair for these people if Government deliberately made them to suffer societal disrespect and rejection. The people who made Kano State as we known it, more then sixty percent of all infrastructures of today, twenty years after they left were their efforts. I reliably gathered that some of the children of Audu were even orally molested after the inquiries, and their father called terrible names, in fact, the whole family had to go through emotional Torment such that his daughter had to seek transfer of service to Sokoto State, where she now works, as the discomfort was getting too much.

It was Governor Idris Garba who in 1990 set up a committee to plan a relief package for the family of Audu Bako. After considering the injustices done to them. The committee made many recommendations which include the settlement of N500,000 debt to banks incurred by Audu Bako in his lifetime. The committee also recommended that the efforts of the State Government to rehabilitate the name of  Audu Bako should continue.

Issues like these and complaints from concerned peoples and the families of the 1975 coup victims broke the heart of former president Ibrahim Babangida and on the 23rd of August 1993 he signed the forfeiture of Assets  Decree. (No 54 of 1993) the contents of the  Decree made it clear that properties of such peoples which were confiscated, be released. He received alot of commendation from well wisher for that singular attempt at recognising the patriotism and selfless services offered the country by those affected.

What had Audu Bako benefited from becoming Governor of Kano State?  Nothing but sacrifice when he was in and untold hardship when he left.  It is clear that the Federal Government had not been fair to him, who gave his best service and got nothing but pain in return.  But what does this portend for future executives other than for them to amass wealth by all means in order to secure their future.  The hue and cry on corruption today probably emanated from that scenario.  I believe this work will serve to teach not only governments but the general public to better appreciate leaders when those leaders could use it.


 Radio Nigeria Kaduna

Tribute to Audu Bako                      A special program 4/2/80.

Ta’aziyyar Marigayi Audu Bako     An Hausa version of the above.

Maiden Message to the people

of Kano State                                    By Alhaji Audu Bako 30/3/68.

Presentation of Gold Medal

to Audu Bako                                    By Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Habis on 1/11/74.

Interview with the Military

Governor of Kano State.                 “Meeting Point” 1969.

Interview with Audu Bako over

his seized farm.                                23/10/75.

Ministry of Information Publications (Kano)

–           Kano State in brief               –           1988

–           Kano State A giant leap      –           1981

–           Kano State Handbook        –           undated

–           This is Kano State, 20 years of progress

–           Kano State Handbook        –           1991.

–           Policy Statements                –           1969-’70, ’70/’71, ’71/’72, ’72/’73, ’73/’74.

Development Plans

–           First National Development Plan, 1962-1968.

–           Second National Development Plan, 1970-1974.

–           Third National Development and Reconstruction Plan, 1975-1980.

–           Kano State Development Plan, 1970-1974.

–           Forfeiture of Assets Decree 54 of 23/8/93.

Newspaper Publications

–           The New Nigerian Newspapers, Man of Destiny of 5/2/68.

–           The New Nigerian Newspapers, Dams by Magaji Abdullahi, 1-2/8/89.


–           Ten years of rural electrification in Kano State, 1975-1983

–           A Business Directory of Kano State, Vol.1 No. 1, 1973.

–           Kano State, 1968-1974.  M.O.W. and S.

–           Education Statistics for Kano State, M.O.E.

–           Report on Kano State Economic Mission abroad.

–           Briefs on Challawa Gorge Dam.

–           Briefs on the activities of Kano State, 1968-1979, compiled for civilian administration.

–           The Tenure of my office, Lest We Forget by Audu Bako, 1968-1974.  (Unpublished Diary).

–           Industrial Potentialities of Northen Nigeria.

–           Metropolitan Kano by B. A. W. Trevallion.

–           Tarihin Garin Kaduna by Yusuf Nadabo.

–           Makers of Modern Africa, know Africa Series.

–           Africa South of the Sahara, Europa Publications, 1994.


Commemorating World Water Day 2017

One of the most challenging human needs is that of water, it is everywhere but seems never available or enough for use. Water has been on the front burner of development discourse since time immemorial. The sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets improving water and sanitation in furtherance of the efforts expended through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was revealed, by World Health Organization that unlike the water target, the sanitation target was not met by most of Africa by the end of 2015.

Most of the MDGs actually targeted problems that could be reduced by simply providing clean water; poverty, education and health.

The goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is pertinent because many people, sometimes even host communities have left their abode on account of water shortage or drought, thereby pushing the citizens to submit themselves to the vagaries of migration and displacement; en route, they are subjected to all kinds of humiliation in order to feed their families.

The second had to do with achieving universal primary education, children have to endure long distances to fetch the water for the use of their families; this affects their school attendance. Promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women is the third Goal, and is pertinent in the water discourse as responsibility for the provision of water is always pushed to women and young girls, even though they have been determined as the weaker sex.

Goals four and five are about reducing child mortality and improving maternal health and the challenge of clean water has been described as being responsible for the diseases that kill more children and keep mothers bedridden and unproductive, especially during natal periods. Water is also a key player in the spread of malaria, which kills at least 300,000 Nigerians every year. Controlling malaria was another goal of the MDGs.

Water, sanitation and hygiene have always been treated as cousins because addressing the challenges of both sanitation and hygiene rely on the availability of water. To a large extent, interventions for the control of the practice of open defecation in our communities is reliant on the provision of water; as it is important to provide water in all health and educational facilities.

Figures by UN Water indicate that 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. In the same vein, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources.

Water is the most important resource in the life of man. So it is important that we use it efficiently, and avoid its wastage. Beyond that we must encourage communities to get this important resource, sustain it and ensure its purity, if they are to live better lives.

Communities always need information on what they can do to ensure efficient water use. They must know how the availability and use of safe and clean water can bring development to them in terms of economy, health, education, culture and other indices of development. In areas where the communities cannot provide water for themselves, it behooves on men and women of goodwill to assist.

World Water Day, is celebrated on 22 March of every year, and is about taking action on water issues. Governments at all levels do a lot to provide tap water, boreholes and tube wells as far as their budgets can carry; development institutions, civil society and NGOs also offer their widows mite in this regard.

Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has keyed into this call through the Future Assured Programme and has built many of such water points including boreholes and tube wells across the country especially in hard to reach communities and IDP camps. By these action, children of those communities can go to school, women can lead more productive lives, and the whole community can be healthier.

These endearing efforts ensure that health outcomes do not deteriorate, that children do not drop out of school, and adults do not leave their communities for greener pasture.


Displaced People in the eyes of Aisha Buhari

The most basic necessities in the life of an average Nigerian include food, clothing, shelter and freedom. We tend to overlook these necessities in our day to day lives because we have them available all the time. But there comes a time when we are challenged in one or more of these necessities and this exposes our vulnerability. There may be a flood that washes away homes and farms, or fire disasters, or even war.

War or in the case of Nigeria, insurgency, did take away people’s source of livelihood, their security and their freedom. It even took away loved ones, leaving with them indelible scars. This insurgency moved millions from the land of their forefathers to lands of refuge, changing their nomenclature from citizens to refugees and sometimes from indigenes to internally displaced persons.

Over the last eight years, this has been the fate of thousands of families in the North East of Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region. Many families have been cut off from their farms, markets and their work places; the cost of food, medicine and transportation, where available or accessible has become unbearably high and therefore unaffordable. These families faced hunger and starvation.

Worse than these are those whose communities have been overrun by the insurgency; where many able bodied men and heads of households have either been killed or maimed, sometimes even mothers and children are not spared. Their homes may have been completely destroyed, along with their farms and the food they had stored for the rainy day.  The survivors of these atrocities have one option; to leave and find security and succor elsewhere. This is not minding the wealth they had, the size of their farms, the size of their families or the amount of comfort that their homes had provided. Most internally displaced persons (IDPs) have to seek out people willing to host them; other communities, friends, relations and sometimes even complete strangers.

The Africa Report on Internal Displacement, 2016 states that Nigeria accounts for 30% of IDPs and refugees in Africa; and according to NEMA, Nigerian refugees in Cameroon are 80,709, in Niger 68,321 and Chad 20,804. Most of these are returning home in droves. The Displacement Tracking Matrix, released in January, 2017, indicate that 1,899,830 still remain displaced in the North East, despite drop in hostilities, which resulted in huge outflow of the IDPs from the camps back to their original communities.

The IDP camps we hear about every day is populated by such families; some have gone far away from their homes to other states. These are the ones addressed as the internally displaced. Others have crossed international borders and are called refugees.

The IDP camps reveal a lot about the kind of people living in them. There are many camps in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, each bursting with people whose basic physiological needs have to be met by the managers of the camps; the food they eat, their health and their shelter. Most camps do not have adequate room and toilet facilities.  The daily bill of such camps is staggering to even government, which is already struggling to fund other budgetary items.

Well-meaning Nigerians and organizations, both local and international opened their hearts to those in the IDP camps, and helped them to meet the basic necessities of life. Some brought nourishment, some provided clean water, even clothing as well as simple tools for sanitation and hygiene.

Wife of the President, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari is one such humanitarian actor who is fully aware of the challenges faced by the IDPs. As a mother, she is concerned with their condition and that is why, through her project, Future Assured she has made a lot of interventions and made a difference in their lives. She had targeted the weak and the vulnerable; these being women, children, young people as well as old people.

Young people (0-18 years) account for 56% of all IDPs, so they become primary targets of attention. 45% of these are male and 55% are female, 8.7% are infants below one, while 7.5% of all IDPs are above 60 years of age. Each of these group has peculiar needs.

The primary vision of Mrs. Buhari beyond reaching out to the IDPs with relief materials is to draw attention to the plight of these vulnerable Nigerians, so that others could see the magnitude of the problem and make their own contribution. Many individuals and organizations have keyed in, either directly or through her Future Assured Initiative.

In order to have a consistent, and standard protocol for providing assistance to the IDPs, Mrs. Buhari set up a task team of people who live within the North East to handle needs assessment and distribution of relief materials both to the host communities and the camps. She named the team Wife of the President’s Committee on the Distribution of Donated Items (WIPCOMDI) and charged it to identify the kinds of support that different groups of IDPs might require. Over time, this committee had conducted its assignment and had delivered boreholes at IDP camps and host communities, food items – including bags of rice and garri, as well as cartons of sugar, noodles, macaroni and other items; sleeping materials including blankets; enriched food formulas to expectant and lactating mothers and babies; baby sets including bath tubs, potties, soaps, creams for the new born. These donations cover both young and old, male and female and the basic necessities of life, especially in the IDP camps.

When our gallant soldiers conquered the insurgency, it became apparent that most of the IDPs began to return home, while others had to be encouraged to do so. Both sides require support to make this happen. The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) had indicated that 1,099,509 IDPs have been confirmed to have returned to their homes by January, 2017; aside trauma, these people have lost their homes; so returning to their villages means rebuilding broken homes and broken lives. It is a hard process, especially for people who now have nothing. There is a lot of community work going on in these communities. That is why government’s effort at reconstruction in these areas need to be appreciated and supported by all Nigerians.

Future Assured has keyed into this by reaching out to those villages through the committee, interacting with the villagers to know what kind of assistance they would require, beyond the relief materials they received at the IDP camps. Resulting from this interaction, communities were supported with building materials including roofing sheets, wood and nails.

It is gratifying to see the IDPs overcome their displacement and return home to their initial livelihood. These formidable Nigerians will overcome their scars and rebuild their lives, thanks to the love and care they have received since leaving their homes.

The value of a news leak

When a very important information or document is leaked to the public through a news media, the news media usually take the credit, just like it takes the slingshots from the target of the leaks. Ideally, such credit or lack thereof should go to the source of the leak, the whistle blower, the aggrieved, because where it not for him, the medium would remain with its dreary, mundane, dog-bite-man stories.

Credit is important. If I decide to leak sensitive information to the press, it is because I want someone exposed or embarrassed, or it is because I simply have a puritan spirit; so the main subject should be the source and not the channel. Today however, the sources are afraid to take this credit for a variety of reasons. For one, exposure might put them in danger. It is such fear that has blocked many a professional from conducting investigative journalism in Nigeria, although some media men believe the settlement culture is purely responsible.

When I see leaks in the media, I ask myself if I would do the same, having the right material, or if I was the editor, would I find it worthy of my pages, or if I was the target, would I be embarrassed or angry? I do believe that a target of leaks expects a simple call for them to confirm or deny the fact. In most cases, probably out of excitement or mischief, this is never done and the by-line usually states that efforts to contact the target have proved abortive.

For the source of the leak, once his work is published he goes to have a smug, good night’s sleep, as if that is the end of the story. Publishing the story is only a means to an end; the end should be investigation and possible retribution.  I know many leaks that have fizzled out of public consciousness without a single action. For the media, publication of such leaks mean more patronage and sales, higher credibility and those in the editorial suite get more ‘respect’.

Public figures are always on the radar of media, either for scoops or for exclusives, so if nothing comes from them, but something comes on them, all the better; news comes out, not minding whether the media is some forlorn backwater 100-copies-a-day mash, or it is a cheap blog, probably run by some burn-out activist basking in the euphoria of citizen journalism, measuring his self-worth by the number of kicks (sorry, clicks) he gets.

I see a lot of public figures heartache over leaks either relating to their work or personal lives. Those that can’t take it sometimes end their lives, while others live with the opprobrium that follows such leaks, even when they get cleared of any wrong doing. The worst thing about publishing leaks is that not all those who read about the condemnable acts get to read when the public figure gets cleared of all wrong doing, in the event that they get cleared. The media does not have much to do because they don’t control their readership and they don’t like sparing spaces for retractions and apologies. Remember the little obscure spaces given to them even when courts state that such retraction should be accorded the same space and publicity as the initial story?

This government seems to have birthed a new kill-joy for the media anyway and it is the 5% whistleblowing fee. I would rather report my find to government and walk with a neat sum and possibly some commendation, than leak it to the media for its own glory.  More leaks are therefore on the way, especially from public servants who have access to financial transaction documents in their offices; and with this will come more secrecy, more exclusion and more with-hunt in government offices. But the papers may get less and less of these leaks, as I am certain, government may come up with a proviso that any leaks that appear in the media loses the 5% automatically.

Let’s be considerate and careful as we publish leaks; remember that anyone with a leak has a motive. Let’s verify the authenticity of documents before we publish them and let us try our best to sound out the targets before we destroy the lives that they have built with sweat and blood, only for our own glory. Journalism was not only invented to destroy, but to share and promote the principles that make us human. It is much better to let a criminal go free than to destroy an innocent man – someone once said

My Korean Experience

It is understandable why a Nigerian would find it strange for citizens to revere their leaders with godly respect, awe and administration like the people of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) would do. But then, the people of DPRK, otherwise known as North Korea, have all the motivation they need to revere their leaders, especially those that sacrificed their enjoyment to bring freedom to the doorsteps of the people. Kim Il Sung was one soldier that left the comfort and warmth of his family and home for 20 years alongside his parents and other family members to fight Japan and restore the dignity of his people.
Even though he was able to return alive, his parents were not so lucky, they didn’t. Visiting Mangyondae, the birth Place of Kim Il Sung, brings back the humility, modesty and the simplicity, which Korean people lived, tending their farms and fending for themselves. Citizens with such self-sustenance have little interest in national consciousness and politics. It was therefore significant that Kim Il Sung embraced this consciousness and tore himself out of this comfort to seek freedom for the people of his country, sacrificing 20 years out of his life.
Viewing a 3D panoramic recreation of the liberation war at the Fatherland War Liberation Museum, which I was opportune to visit, one becomes mentally absorbed into the war. A revolving platform takes one through a scenic display of a well-choreographed storyline with the amazing ambience, sights and sounds of gunshots, mortar explosions, embellished with monumental oil paintings of the theater of war, interspersed with motifs, real weapons, sculptures and other props. That sight was indeed an amazing experience and goes to portray the history from the beginning of the war to its end.
Korea became liberated with the fall of Japan in the Second World War. Kim Il Sung became the hero of the struggle, and led the establishment of the DPRK encompassing both North and South Korea with the election of 572 members to the Supreme People’s Assembly from both sides, in 1948. He became its first Premier and Head of State. Fearing his leftist tendencies, the US occupied the southern part of the peninsula up to the 38th parallel, restraining Kim Il Sung, to the north. In 1950, the US started a “Korean” war, which led to thousands of casualties and eventually an armistice that spelt out territorial restrictions between the two parts of the peninsula. The people acknowledge the performance, vision as well as doggedness and resistance of their leader and therefore hold him in high esteem.
The victory exposed the nation to a barrage of new challenges – challenges of nation building, stability, development and a sustainable economy. A three-year plan was put in place, and was over-fulfilled, for the postwar rehabilitation and development of the national economy, whose basic task was to achieve prewar levels in all spheres of the national economy. Being a leftist himself, it would have been easy to implement a variant of Leninism or Maoism, but Kim Il Sung developed an in-house roadmap by coming up with and instituting the Juche Idea.
The Juche idea is pegged on three concepts; Chaju, charip and chawi, independence, self-reliance and self-defense, reflecting political sovereignty, a strong, viable and stable economy and protection of the nation from within and without. These are key for any nation that wants to stay focused and attend to the needs of its people. The idea also espouses that the success of any leader in pursuing the well-being of his people, is dependent upon the extent to which the people themselves are ready to support him.
The crowning highlight of the foundation celebration every year is the national parade; it did not hold this year. But other activities, especially cultural ones did take place. I joined other Koreans to enjoy fascinating theatre, circus performances including chilling trapeze acts. I also visited the Pyongyang zoo and enjoyed some games reminiscent of the German “Telematch” at the polo grounds.
I was in Korea when on September 9, the national day, President Kim Jong Un launched the 10 kiloton nuclear bomb as the 5th in the series of tests to show his military might. He had also been testing missiles that could transport the warhead. I followed the international backlash that greeted the launch; the citizens seems overjoyed at what they see as a huge feat. The launches were an important part of the Juche Idea, which theorize that nations must have peace for them to attain development and peace is only secured when a nation’s military strength is not in doubt before other nations.
I remember watching Aljazeera two days later on the anniversary of September 11 attacks in the US, an American asked the question “why do they hate us so much?” and I realized that the answer rests on the activities of America in other countries, which have earned for it the label of “imperialist”. In the process of having its hands in every pie, the US creates enemies by the day, forcing nations to prepare for their protection. Many countries have sad stories to tell.
My visit to Pyongyang has changed a lot of perceptions, I used to imagine that the place was swarming with arms-wielding soldiers, that the life of the citizens is regimented, and that they live with the fear of being executed the next minute for the slightest offences. These are untrue, as none of the soldiers I saw carried guns, or even Tasers. These stories were exacerbated by news that a Minister had been shot for sleeping at an official function. The story proved to be untrue because the same Minister that was pronounced dead by western media was on TV during worker’s day celebrations. I will now take such stories with a pinch of salt.
The name of the DPRK depicts a democracy, the general conception is that democracy has to be electoral. Being a development communicator however, I know that democracy goes beyond just election, it transcends into the realm of participation. In Korea, the people participate in their country’s economy, its protection and its independence at individual levels.
Sense of honesty among the people is pronounced. I was able to confirm this from a staff of the embassy who lost some money while shopping in a remote town. When he reported to the police in the capital, the money found its way back to him. The country is also crime-free; no robberies, no kidnaps, no sleazes, no pickpockets, no rapists.
The country has 5 million regular soldiers, supported by university graduates that have to undergo military service for a year immediately after graduation. Since soldiers are considered builders of the nation, most construction work in the country is done by them. I saw many of them at work on many sites. During the recent floods in the north of the country, most of them were directed to abandon whatever work they were doing to help victims of flood, where 133 people were killed, over 350 injured and thousands were displaced. Only last year, when the floods washed away many houses in the same north, the nation rallied round with thousands of workers to redesign, reconstruct and furnish over 1000 new houses for the victims within one month! Yes, one month. Thus, a disaster turned out to be a blessing for the victims.
I am confident that the Juche Idea has something for every segment of the Nigerian society; from communities, local governments, states to the nation. When each of these political structures takes their economy, security and sovereignty seriously, the chances favour sustainable development. None would depend on another and be treated like a beggar. This brings a cogent point home that political structures in Nigeria at all levels must cultivate internally generated revenue beyond the central largesse they enjoy.
Another thing that dawned on me was the explanation as to why Nigerian leaders do not get the respect that Korean leaders get. Also important is why the levels of patriotism differ between citizens of the two countries. While Korea got its independence through war and suffering, Nigeria got its own on a platter. Had Nigerians of different tribes fought and died alongside each other, they would have appreciated each other more and held eternal memories of the shared griefs. Unfortunately, we earned our independence on the basis of differences and the need to grab opportunities for citizens of our ethnic stock. Politicians were continuously ferried to distant lands to beg them to unite and build a nation, to no avail. This remains the reason for our division and our poor national patriotism.
Lessons for Nigeria, we have to support any leader we agree to elect; that way, only constructive criticism will be the weapon of his supporters and even the opposition. Another is the need for unity and the entrenchment of meritocracy; whatever we do, if everyone thinks that only someone from their ethnic stock should be given opportunities, we may never make progress. Again, there is the need for leaders and other officials to shy away from the mindset of public office for personal gain. There can only be enough for our need, not greed. Our soldiers should also join in nation building and not only defence. The culture of outsourcing or contracting is too costly and is responsible for the poorly executed jobs we have all over the place. There may be need for a rethink. I do believe that with better governance, will come confidence in leaders, and with this confidence, citizens will begin to fall in line and do the right thing; and then, we can begin to think of development.

Suleiman Haruna is a doctoral candidate at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Bringing People to Consciousness for Development: A Report of Theatre for Development Workshop in Barebari Community


It is truism that without empowerment there can be no development. Such   empowerment necessarily results from ownership of knowledge and followed up with action by a community. Ownership and action on the other hand are the keys that open the doors of success to any project undertaken by such a community either on their own or in partnership with facilitators. Theatre for Development (TfD) as a genre of theatre provides a platform for that partnership as it has concerned itself  with people’s lives and experiences and aims at making them aware of their social, political and economic realities towards empowerment.

During the last Thirty Six years, there has been a perceptible tendency in developing countries to use theatre as an educative medium for social change and development. This is because theatre is neutral as a technique; it can serve the purposes of oppression as well as liberation. However, as soon as it is used to transmit direct information, knowledge or skills, neutrality is out of the question. Whether intended or not, it becomes an instrument with which people are persuaded to accept their situations or get involved in changing them.

Aristotle’s Poetics did not give room for man to have the critical thinking necessary for addressing his challenges, let alone how to change his society. Brecht however, kicked against such idealist theatre. He proposes a theatre that would be meaningful to the oppressed society; meaningful in the sense that it should be purposeful in the development of human life. Brazilian educator Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” is very influential in the discourse of achieving a participatory education.  The work has significance for developing societies. First, his emphasis on dialogue has struck a very strong chord with those concerned with popular and informal education. Given that informal education is dialogical rather than a curricula form that is hardly surprising. However, Paulo Freire was able to take the discussion on several steps with his insistence that dialogue involves respect. It should not involve one person acting for another, but rather people “working with” each other.

Secondly, Freire was concerned with praxis-action that is informed and linked to certain values. Dialogue was not just about deepening understanding – but was part of making a difference in the turbulent developing nations in the South American States. Dialogue in itself is a co-operative activity involving respect. The process is important and can be seen as enhancing community building, social capital and to leading nations and nationals to act in ways that make for justice and human flourishing.  An important element of this was his concern with conscientization – developing consciousness, but consciousness that is understood to have the power to transform reality.

Freire’s teaching influenced Augusto Boal to develop “Theatre of the Oppressed” during the 1950s and 1960s. In an effort to transform theatre from the “monologue” of traditional performance into a “dialogue” between audience and stage, Boal experimented with many kinds of interactive theatre. His explorations were based on the assumption that dialogue is the common, healthy, dynamic between all humans, that all human beings desire and are capable of dialogue, and that when a dialogue becomes a monologue, oppression ensues. Theatre then becomes an extraordinary tool for transforming monologue into dialogue.


From his work Boal evolved various forms of theatre workshops and performances which aimed to meet the needs of all people for interaction, dialogue, critical thinking, action, and fun. While the performance modes of Forum Theatre, Image Theatre, Cop-In-The-Head, and the vast array of the Rainbow of Desire are designed to bring the audience into active relationship with the performed event, the workshops are virtually a training ground for action not only in these performance forms, but for action in life. The success or applicability of Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” suggests that people by themselves are forced to or reach a consensus to develop governing and gathering individual’s response to bring about change.


Concerned with a participatory approach, this medium of education focuses on workshop participants who analyze, prioritize and create a story based on problems encountered in their communities. Commenting on the participatory approach in TfD as basically inclusive, Mda iterates that:

People must be active participants in the creation of theatre […] but with the objective of turning theatre into a much more effective medium of adult education (1993: 9).

The workshop participants, who normally constitute members of the target community, understand their problem better when they are engaged in the theatre process. They also understand the causes of their problems and anticipate solutions which they may choose to integrate in the story that is subsequently developed into a workshop play. The participants may also decide to leave the solutions to their problems for the audience to make attempts at finding solutions during post-performance discussion.

What is peculiar about TfD is the cultural dimension involved. It makes room for communities to employ their folklore.  Similarly, TfD depends on action, song, dance, drumming and storytelling to communicate educational messages relevant for the development of the community.

Significant TfD workshops in Africa include the Laedza Batanani experience (1974) in Botswana, The Kamiriithu theatre experience (1976) in Kenya, the Chilambana workshop (1979) in Zambia, the Wasan Manoma (1977) in Zaria Nigeria, the Murewa workshop (1983) in Zimbabwe, the Theatre-for-Integrated-Rural-Development workshop (1984) in Kumba, Cameroon etc.



Post graduate students of Theatre and Performing Arts and Development Communication of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 2009/2010, session embarked on Theatre for Development workshop targeted on six communities namely Zangon Tama, Nasarawa, Hayi, Dan Kawo, Unguwar Ilu and Bare Bari all in Giwa Local Government of Kaduna State. The workshop took place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June, 2011. Though other groups from the department have visited these communities before now, the group did not set any agenda for the project, rather it was agreed that the approach will evolve from field experience. This is as a result of studies of other notable TfD workshops in Africa like Murewa workshop (1983) in Zimbabwe that was described as having preconceived ideas, which made it difficult to marry theory with practical experience in the field. Martha Vestin, one of the resource persons that participated in Murewa workshop described it as too academic as nothing was left to improvisation and common sense. Another workshop that was studied was the Theatre for Integrated Rural Development Workshop in Kumba, Cameroon where it was discovered that majority of the villagers were farmers and were always in their farms during the day. This prompted the resource persons and student participants to apply homestead method as they followed the villagers to the farm and the stream to witness first hand the challenges of these communities. It was assumed that our group would encounter similar challenges because Barebari community and other surrounding communities are predominantly farmers and the season for the project is farming season. It was obvious that Homestead Method is preferable for the workshop.


On reaching Giwa Local Government, the first activity was a visit by the entire group to the Sarki (chief) in charge of the chosen communities. He welcomed the student participants and the co-ordinator of the project Mr. Steve Daniel, who was singled out for always remembering their communities. He charged the group to tell the story of their neglect and underdevelopment to the world. After the brief meeting, the group proceeded to the Zangon tama community, which was to be our base, 15km of  long, winding, untarred and weather-beaten road. Zangon tama was also our take off point to other communities. We were received by a welcome party headed by the chairman of the community development association. We were offered two classrooms of the mission school as accommodation and mats to spread on the punctured floor. The co-ordinator, Mr Steve Daniel shared mosquito nets to all student participants.


The day was already far spent after a long and hectic journey to Zangon tama community. The entire group decided to take a transect walk around the community; and from this we gathered preliminary information that was to guide our assignment better. By sunset, we were done and we retired to put our feet up. Our rest was to be cut short by an invitation to receive a formal welcome by the community; over a hundred villagers had already gathered and were waiting in the church hall. The liaison officer Mr. Mathew Myam introduced members of the group to the community as Mr. Suleiman Haruna served as an interpreter to those members who do not understand Hausa language. The community was very enthusiastic to receive the visitors as the youth staged two performances. One was a debate on “Education is more important than Money” and the second was improvised drama piece about a politician who during his campaign promised the community of infrastructural development and better life only to  abandon the people after winning election. The group also entertained their hosts with a comedy skit after which the group went to sleep ahead of the next day’s task.


In the morning of the second day, the students were grouped into six to visit the designated communities, Barebari community comprised of the following members:

  1. Walter Temple Chukwuma        –        Group Leader
  2. Haruna Suleiman                      –        Member
  3. Jamila Mohammed                             –           “
  4. Linda                                        –           “
  5. Orifa Omore Gladys                  –           “
  6. Zaki                                          –           “
  7. Chata                                       –           “
  8. Gilbert Clifford                                   –           “


The greatest challenge of that day was the early morning downpour which started in the morning and delayed the movement of the groups to their communities. The heavy rain had continued till 11.00am when the group decided to hold a meeting to discuss what was to be done. At the meeting, there was debate as to whether the groups would be able to conduct the visits to the designated communities and conduct a successful intervention. The alternative that was considered was for the whole group to remain at zangon tama and conduct the intervention that was to be decided. In the end, due to the shortage of time, the meeting agreed that despite the rain, each group should visit its assigned community even if no intervention was possible for each. The meeting also agreed that each group should invite people from the different communities for a forum session at zangon tama. (the meeting had from the transect walk identified education as a possible common problem).


A guide was assigned to our (Barebari Community) group in the person of Mr. Yahaya Sama who led us to the community. The distance from Zangon tama to Barebari community is about three kilometers and it took us about forty five minutes to walk to the community. On our way to the community, we passed a smaller community called Ikari. Our first point of contact in Barebari community was the Mai’anguwa (ward head) Alhaji Aliyu Musa who gave us his support but advised that men should interview men while the women among us should interview women as we can see that the community is Muslim dominated.


The community members are predominantly farmers in the area of cropping, fishing and animal rearing. The population of the community can be estimated at over 1000 people. The major food crops produced by the community are maize, Beans, and soya beans. The major cash crop is rice while the animal they rear are Cow, Ram, Goat and Guinea Fowl. One of the men that had interaction with us in the community Mr. Abdullahi Sani who has a Rice Processing Mill in his compound informed us that during harvest season, they used to take over 2000 bags of rice to market every market day (twice a week) from the community.


One thing that struck our attention was the seeming comfort and prosperity we noticed among the people as we had entertained the thought that the community was occupied by impoverished people with malnourished children and women. To our greatest surprise, however, we met an economically empowered people who had no government support and unfortunately no conscious self effort to develop their community.


Another interesting aspect of the life of the people is the use of Animal Labour for farming. They have a unique way of fixing a plough in the middle of two cows which enable them weed, till and cultivate crops. This animal labour system serves the purpose of a tractor.  It was discovered that in the past, they practiced what is called “Gayya” which means ‘group labour’, involving group of people who collectively help each other in farming. We were informed that when the use of animal labour was discovered for farming, “gayya” shifted to other areas like road repair. We had gathered that every adult from 18 years owns two cows and a plough.


Apart from cultivating crops, the community members engage in fishing especially during rainy season as it constitutes their major source of income at that period. One of the villagers, Malam Mai’anguwa Kambaya told us that some fish dealers do come from town to buy their fish products. Their major source of water supply is from Well.



One of the problems identified through interaction with different community members is lack of fertilizer to improve their crop production. When we enquired as to why they do not have a co-operative society, which could have helped them obtain or purchase fertilizer and sell to members at a subsidized rate, they informed us that they do not have and even if there is, the government will not listen to them. This indicates the level of despondence about government as opposed to the issue of dependence on government which is always blamed for lack of empowerment. The most pathetic aspect of this challenge is that they buy a tare of fertilizer for N500.00, which is too expensive and which is why they resort to the use of manure as an alternative.


We saw a school with a dilapidated structure and enquired whether it was in use. The community members frankly told us that the school was not functional. They also informed us that the school was built through community effort but was taken over by the local government which posted teachers to the school. Eventually, the teachers refused to stay, on account of the remoteness of the location. The community claimed that they made every effort to make the teachers happy so that they can stay but to no avail. They went as far as training their own children to take over the management of the school but Giwa Local government refused to employ them. They claimed to have over 700 school-age children who are out of school. We asked them why they were not attending the school at Zangontama for which they answered that it was privately owned and managed by a church; and as a Muslim community they are not comfortable attending a school owned and managed by Christians.


Another problem that the community members identified is lack of health centre. We were shown a health centre constructed in the community that never operated for one day. Malaria is the prevailing disease in the community. There is a clinic in Iyatawa but during the rainy season, they cannot cross the river for medical attention there. They are forced to go to Giwa town for medical attention. They also gave the same reason above why they would not attend the health centre located in Zangon tama (the clinic is also owned and managed by a mission).


A very vital problem as stressed by the community members is accessible road to enable them take their farm produce to the market and have access to other communities. One of the villagers Mr. Mai’anguwa Kambaya boasted that they have enough money to buy any car of their choice but cannot because of lack of the road on which to drive them. Also, if they had accessible road, they could take their children to any school of their choice in other communities.



The groups gathered together over the visits of various communities to share their experiences. It was discovered that these communities have similar problems. Mr Steve Daniel, who moderated the discussions advised the groups that we should not “forget the key issues in TfD include coming, dialoguing, planning and acting together”. After much deliberation on the field experiences of various groups, it was agreed that the group should have a collective performance and intervention. One of the reasons for this decision is as a result of limited time as rain has taken most of the time of the day. The second reason is because the communities have similar problems and meaningful intervention may not work without bringing these communities together.


One of the vital observations of the groups is lack of religious integration. Though the communities cooperate on social and political issues, it was evident that there is a cold religious war among the Christian and Muslim communities. For example, in Barebari community where a school collectively built by both Christian and Muslim communities is being utilized by the muslims as an Islamic school, rather than a private secular school, as there were no government employed teachers. they have also refused to attend the school operated by a church. Thereby leaving 700 children without formal education. The groups therefore agreed to address and intervene on the matter so as to provide a bridge which can help in integrating the children from the different religious groups in all communities through education. This facilitation process may not succeed if the communities are not brought together. These differences among communities were linked to a similar challenge in Hammocks to Bridges: Theatre for Integrated Rural Development workshop held by Community Development Training School, Kumba, Cameroon as reported by Eyoh Hansel Ndumbe the co-ordinator of the workshop.


The group that worked in Konye community discovered two other neighbouring communities called Ndoi and Ngolo-bolo. These three communities have their differences though they are not religiously motivated. Their differences hinge upon the battle for supremacy. Konye community felt that they have well to do people, they see themselves as the real owners of the land as they classify Ngolo-bolo people as strangers. These affected their effort to construct a Bridge to replace the hammocks in the Mungo River. The facilitating group succeeded in bringing the communities together and performed an improvised play addressing their differences and this prompted these communities to agree to work together for the construction of the bridge. Having drawn from this experience, our group decided to bring the communities together to address their religious differences.


The groups went into creation of improvised play of conscientization on religious harmony/tolerance, the importance of education and health facilities and personnel, tree planting and the need for accessible roads. The students that participated in the play are Jimmy Akoh, Zaki, Suleiman Usman, Gilbert Clifford, Daniel Bawa, Andesati Danladi, Linda and Terngu Gwar. The community leaders directed the town crier to summon other communities to Zagon tama for the play.


The performance night that took place on the second day was eventful one. The student participants nominated Mr. Suleiman Haruna to co-ordinate the event due to his understanding and interpretation of Hausa and English Languages for the purposes of translation and interpretation. The women, children and the youths were fully involved in the performance process. Tsibati Lass, Orifa Omore Gladys, Linda and Grace Basa created children’s theatre for the children where they played moonlight games. Teenage girls presented their performance derived from their folklores. The women group presented an aesthetic dance performance. One interesting thing about the night performance is that we were informed that the women have not danced together in this manner over thirty years (some, since their wedding days). The youth also put up a fantastic improvised play emphasizing on the need for education, health care and accessible road.


All in all, the play by the visiting group drew a lot of discussion at the forum level and it was agreed by the communities that they have not done enough to help themselves. They therefore agreed to meet next morning (Sunday, 12th) in a dialogue of all the communities by 11.00am to crystallize a strategy. The student participants’ performance helped in no small measure in bringing the communities to consciousness on the need to work together for their development. The groups rested the night with a bonfire which lasted till the early hours of Sunday morning.




The dialogue was a fruitful one; the communities realized the need for religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence and self effort in pursuit for development. They came to consciousness that unless they come together as one indivisible people, the effort for self development would not be realized. The high point of the dialogue was when they decided to jointly build and run a school for their children. They stressed that the project would commence immediately.

Another outcome of the dialogue was the agreement by the communities to use the already existing structure in the church to inaugurate an adult education centre. The inauguration was scheduled for Saturday, 25th June, 2011 though it was rescheduled for Saturday, 2nd July, 2011 for logistic reasons. The student participants were invited by the communities for the inauguration programme. The students on their part agreed to honour the invitation as a follow-up process.


The community members through the Liaison Officer, Mr. Mathew Myam deeply thanked the co-ordinator Mr. Steve Daniel and student participants for this development-driven visit to their communities. He expressed that it is the wish of the communities that such visits would be a continuous one. He prayed for journey mercies as the group travels back to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The group was led by Mr. Mathew Myam to bid farewell to the Sarki, who was visited at the beginning of the workshop.



Though it was agreed by the student participants to allow the methodology and approach for the project to evolve from field experience; it was also suggested to use Homestead Method due to the fact that the members of the communities are predominantly farmers and we may not meet them at their various homes during the day time. Homestead Method was only applied in Zangontama community.


However, Flood Method was applied in other communities including Barebari. According to Steve Daniel and Salihu Bappa (), in the Flood Method,  “the whole external group goes or invades the community, meeting the villagers wherever they are holding informal discussions with them. It is also referred to as the ‘Migrant Technique’ in which facilitators go in and out of the community from a central base potentially assigned by the community”(Osofisan ed : 20).  The reasons for this methodology could be attributed to the following:

  1. There was limited time as the project lasted for only three days.
  2. The period of the project is rainy season and most of the plans by the groups were thwarted by rain.

iii.           For example, Barebari community was not consulted about the group’s visit early enough so as to enable their families make arrangement to host us.



Despite the limited time assigned for the project, it was a very successful one as it proves the point that Theatre for Development should be pursued as the process of democratizing culture with the intention of effecting a positive change in the lives of rural and marginalized populations. It does not necessarily have to be used as a medium of protest; rather, it should be exploited for its effectiveness in consciousness- raising.

One unique thing to note about this project that made it different from many other projects in Africa is that the people took centre stage in the drama making process. Apart from the student participants making drama for the people, most of the improvised plays were made by the people themselves unlike the Kumba (1984) workshop that made drama for the people.


Team members

Walter, Temple c.

Suleiman Haruna

Jamila Mohammed

Orifa Omore Gladys

Clifford Ayabowei

Linda Ashio

Chata Emmanuel

Zaki Emmanuel



Boal, Augusto (1995):  The Rainbow of Desire:The Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy. London: Routledge

Boal, Augusto (1993): Theater of the Oppressed. New York: Theatre Communications Group.

Brecht, Bertolt (1964): Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic ( Ed. and trans. John Willett),  London: Methuen.

Eyoh, N. Hansel (1986): Hammocks to Bridges: An Experience in Theatre for Development. Yaounde: Bet & Co. Ltd.

Freire, Paulo (2000): Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum

Kavanagh, M. Robert (1997): Making People’s Theatre, Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.


Kerr, David (1995): African Popular Theatre: From Pre-colonial Times to the Present Day. London: James Currey.

Mda, Zakes (1993): When People play People: Development Communication Through Theatre. London: Zed Books.

Mlama, M. Penina (1991): Culture and Development: The Popular Theatre Approach in Africa. Uppsala: The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies.

Osofisan, Femi (ed): Communicating Children and Women’s Right in Nigeria: Experiences from the Field, produced by Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan and Planning and Communication Section, UNICEF, Abuja.

Tohu TV: A Participatory Video Intervention at Tohu Community

Tohu TV: A Participatory Video Intervention at Tohu Community



Tohu is a cluster of villages located at Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria. It is agrarian and nomadic, and one community that is yet to feel the presence of government in terms of social services and infrastructure. Apart from a primary school with three blocks of classes, the community does not have roads, potable water or even a health center. Citizens of the community however do not complain of unemployment as most of them have farms which they cultivate and animals which they rear. Apart from these, many of them are engaged in quarrying, as the neighborhood has an abundance of granite, which ironically is being used as roadstone to make roads in more favored communities.


The team’s objective in conducting this practical project is to initiate an intervention process at Tohu community with the hope of engendering a community driven approach to cause an improvement in the life of the people.


The team’s plan is to conduct transect in order to feel the community and have an idea of the basic indices of development; thereafter, a community dialogue is expected to spark-off discussion on the important issues. Depending on the nature of the problems prioritized, the community can take action towards sustained development.

 Courtesy call on the chief

The Zaria group of Class 2009/2010 chose Tohu community for their practical intervention project. The team made contact with the community and got permission to visit on Friday 17th June, 2011. Members of the class paid the visit and were received at the house of the local Sarki (chief). While explaining the purpose of their visit to the chief, they said they were students who were on a project visit to learn more about the lifestyles of different communities and hoped to meet with a cross section of the communities that make up Tohu. In his response, the representative of the chief, Alhaji Usman, welcomed the team and apologized for the inability of the chief to be physically present to receive them. He however promised that the team would receive all the support they needed to make their project a success. He promised to send invitations to people from all the villages to attend the meeting, which he proposed to hold at the Tohu Primary School.


After the introductory visit, the team conducted reconnaissance on the villages which numbered about six and which were linearly located along a 7 – kilometer, weather – beaten track wide enough only to carry an ox – driven cart. The residents, for whom this road is second nature, generally travel by motorcycle.

We conducted transect to obtain information on the villager’s health and sanitation status, sources of drinking water, prevalent diseases and availability and type of latrines in the community.

From the transect, the team gathered that the community had a relatively healthy population, other than cases of malaria that are usually home treated. The community had pit latrines in every home and had very little refuse other than degradable material. As for the wells used to source drinking water, some are covered while some are exposed.

On our way out, the undulations and potholes eventually became our nemesis as one of our vehicles broke down and had to be left there overnight.  On Saturday, 18th June 2011, the team was at the primary school by the appointed time of 10.00am for a community dialogue.

The community dialogue

The community dialogue was attended by about 50 citizens, cutting across age but not sex, as all those that attended were males. This is not unexpected as Tohu is a Muslim community, where women hardly attend mixed public functions.

The meeting was opened with words of welcome by Suleiman Haruna on behalf of the team, after which he explained the purpose of the visit, which is to study the community in order to learn from them, join them in identifying their problems and in coming up with solutions. Members of the community responded by welcoming the team and expressed their willingness to support the project.

As provided by the participatory model of development communication, the team went with the objective of carrying out an intervention in the life of the villagers, but without any chosen area in mind. This is to be decided by the villagers themselves. The team therefore invited them to prioritize the problems of their community, which after series of discussions and adjustments were listed as follows:

  • Lack of a clinic
  • Lack of motorable road
  • Lack of electricity
  • Lack of potable water

It was during further discussions that other villagers seem to express their discontent with the four listed problems. No less a person than a mai’ anguwa (ward head) stood up and blurted that all the listed problems are secondary as none of the villagers attending the dialogue is guaranteed of a continuous stay in the community, let alone hope to get clinics or roads. He therefore called on the meeting to be realistic and truthful in identifying the most crucial problem of the community, which as he explained, was the military shooting range that is located at their backyard.

The military shooting range

The villagers seem to agree with the mai’ anguwa and roared in support. He was therefore invited to speak about the problem. He said the military have been using their grounds as shooting range for trainee soldiers for almost a hundred years. Despite this length of time, they met the villagers already domiciled in the area. They have related peacefully over the years, he said, and never had cause, despite the inconveniences of the shooting range to have any kind of misunderstanding with the soldiers.

Some years back, the military came to Tohu community without notice and took an inventory of all the homes in many of the villages. They granted themselves access to the homes without seeking permission from the owners. When they were through, they told the villagers that they were to be relocated in order to expand the shooting range and would be compensated for their homes. They however did not speak about the fate of their farmlands or where they were to be moved. All further questions from the villagers were rebuffed.

The villagers assembled and discussed the issue and agreed to report to the district head and the local government chairman. They also gained access and paid visits to the two officials who calmed them down and promised to follow up the matter on their behalf. They also wrote to the then chief of Army staff, who, while on a phone discussion with the district head, denied knowledge of any plans to move any community for the purposes of shooting range expansion.

Since the incidence, the community had not heard from the military on whether the movement was still on or not. This, they complained had kept them on tenterhooks, as they cannot plan anything without thinking they would be asked to be moved the next day. This, to the community, is the most important problem.

Sensitivity of the issue

From this point, the dialogue took a different turn. The villagers seemed to freeze along two unequal groups. Majority of the villagers believed that the shooting range is the most important and should be accorded top priority, while the minority, those behind the community leaders, did not. Eventually the majority had their way after the minority had had their say; discussion then centered on what the community could do to solve the problem.

The suggestions that were proffered were based on the following premises, the first being that the whole Tohu Community should be involved in whatever solution was eventually decided, even though some of the villages were not involved in the relocation order. Another issue raised was that some communities outside Tohu also were also to be moved, they should therefore also be contacted and involved. Besides the relocation issue, the villagers complained that each time the range is in session, they had to make long detours to get to town, which was highly inconvenient.

Participatory Video

The team was moderating discussions with questions, challenging some of the suggestions made. One of the suggestions made was to go the press with the complaints in order to gain public sympathy and the attention of the military leaders. To this, the team had said they were in a position to help, but wanted the villagers to be sure they were ready to handle the consequences, as their leaders, who are against this move could take them up on it.

When they overwhelmingly expressed their support for the move, the team suggested the use of participatory video (PV) to address their problem. PV has been defined as ‘an unscripted video production process directed by communities themselves’ (ICT Update, 2006) with the aim of highlighting the living conditions of the people towards a horizontal, vertical and exchange learning.’ (Haruna, 2010) The villagers were briefed about what PV was and how it could be used to address their problem.

The significance of the PV was hinged on the fact that it would enable the villagers to share the video with their neighbours who have the same problem, in order to secure their buy-in while taking action. The villagers were told that they would have to produce the video themselves. Responding to issues concerning training and equipment, the team promised to allow the villagers to use their camera as well as train them to use it.   Chris Lunch (2006) had explained PV as an accessible, interesting, inclusive methodology that differs fundamentally from traditional filming, in which the focus is on creating a finished product.

The community leadership

The community leaders seemed not to be comfortable with the way things were going. They therefore requested the team to give them a few minutes in order to ‘confer among themselves,’ to which the team obliged. As soon as the team left the classroom, many of the villagers also left, obviously distraught. The meeting eventually took almost an hour, after which the team rejoined the discussions. They had decided to first seek the consent of the district head before reverting back to us. They therefore asked us to give them a week. They felt that since he had made efforts to address the issue, it would be unfair to jump over his head and go to the media. Because of the furore that the meeting attracted, the villagers, speaking to us later, explained that the decision was not unanimous, as the district head had never cared to make contact with the military officials that sent the visiting detachment to take the inventory. Another reason given was that the Sarki of Tohu had given himself choice allocations when the soldiers came. These included the school compound and playgrounds for which, even though were common grounds, he claimed compensation.

The community dialogue had resulted in a classic fight between the leadership and peasants as typically discussed by authoritarian and libertarian theories, with each fighting for prominence. The authoritarian theory had promoted zealous obedience to a hierarchical superior and reliance on threat and punishment to those who did not follow the censorship rules or did not respect authority. This was the belief of the community leaders. The libertarian theory advocates absence of restraint, as the state was seen as a source of interference on the rights of an individual and his property. This was exemplified by the position of the villagers.

‘To be or not to be’

The team was disappointed at the decision of the community. However, we believed that there were layers of positions from the close – door meeting. So we decided to conduct personal interviews across the two sides of the divide. As expected, the three positions that appeared from the interviews were;

  • That it is necessary to obtain appropriate permission before further action on the intervention could continue, these group, obviously pro – establishment, believes that the PV could hold, but covering other problems than the shooting range.
  • That securing necessary permission is alright; provided it would lead to an approval for the conduct of a PV on the shooting range.
  • The last group is made up of the popular side, who are more in number and who believe that the PV should commence right away. They are of the opinion that the problem affects them and the final decision to act rests on themselves and not on someone staying many kilometers away, who they claim has nothing to lose by their ejection.

It became clear to the team that our project is about to be stifled by the decision of the community leadership, who have covertly stamped their ‘no’ against a popular position, due to its threat on their primordial interests. We held a small discussion and came to the realization that we may never be allowed to continue the project as the approval being expected may never come.

We had a choice to make; either to accept the decision of the community leadership, and suspend the project, or come up with an idea as to continue the project through the backdoor. We considered the time, resources and energy expended in the project, as well as the possibility of the same kind of scenario repeating itself wherever we decided to venture to. Most importantly, the intervention was about the people, not the leadership, and since the PV was what the people wanted, we upheld their choice and decided to go ahead with the PV.

Most of those in favour of the PV were the youths (18 – 35) who were restive throughout the debate; they also happened to have fervently requested us to forget the ‘old people’ and go ahead with the PV.

In order to avoid getting into trouble with the establishment, the team decided it was best not to implicate the youths by making them aware of the team’s intentions to go ahead with the PV. We therefore told the youths they were just going to learn how to use the camera to save us the time of teaching them when we return the next week as agreed. We invited them to return to the class room to learn the Camera’s basic operations. They did, very enthusiastically. Their return however, drew the curiosity of some pro-establishment spectators, who returned to ask whether the programme was still on. We told them it had ended, but that the youths also wanted to be interviewed like their elders. Another question they eventually came to ask was what the youths were doing with our camera, and we told them they were interested in studying it, and we were allowing them to feel it.

The youth’s were all individually given an opportunity to use the camera. The team then informed them that they were going to interview themselves just as the community leaders were interviewed. They agreed it was a good idea as they wanted their own voices to be heard. They then selected the one who handled the camera the best amongst them to be the Camera Man and a small audition was organized for the person who would do the interviews. They unanimously selected the one who spoke more fluently, confidently and asked important questions. It was an exciting process for both the youths and the team as everyone enjoyed the drama. A series of discussions then followed amongst the youth under the guidance of Jamila Mohammed and it was agreed that the PV team would interview not just their youth colleagues but also the community leaders to get their views on the issues bordering the community.

Tohu TV

Two interviews were conducted in the classroom to make the Camera Man and Interviewer have a feel of the process before they ventured into the village. When we got to a place they referred to as the mini-village square, the interviewer decided to stop and interview some elders who were holding a discussion about the meeting held earlier. He asked them basic questions about the village and their problems without giving them a hint of what he wanted them to discuss. They, on their own, ended up naming the shooting range issue as one of their major problems. He interviewed a few more people in the vicinity before he suggested going into the houses to interview the women who were always left out of such important discussions. Our team was apprehensive about taking a camera into the houses in the fear of overstepping boundaries but he assured us that it was okay to do so.

At this point it was decided to have the interviewer talk directly into the camera to explain to the viewers what he was doing and this was where the idea to make the Video a Documentary Report of the Tohu Village for a TV station was borne. The camera man and interviewer excitedly named the TV station ‘Tohu TV’ and we ventured into the houses.

The women were surprised to see the team going into their homes with a camera, but they quickly relaxed when they saw their own children doing the recording and asking the questions. Surprisingly, for the women their more pressing problems were lack of roads and access to a hospital facility as they were the ones who suffer when their children fell ill or when they needed to go for ante-natal care. They also complained of lack of electricity but would only mention the shooting range issue when prompted by the interviewer. A couple of women were interviewed in their homes and the team had to tell the interviewer that time was up; for, if he was given the opportunity he would have excitedly interviewed all the villagers.

The team went back to the school where a group of youths had gathered waiting for our return. The interviewer signed out by summarizing what he learnt from the interviews and the Camera Man handed us back the camera for a playback. It was an exciting experience and the youths could not wait to view what had been recorded.

Everything seemed to be going well until the team experienced firsthand one of the issues bothering the village: lack of electricity. Due to some technical issues, the battery of the lap-top computer that the team went with ran down and needed to be recharged for the video to be played back. Thankfully, one of the youths offered the use of his small generator to power the computer.

It then became the moment of truth as the youths all sat eagerly waiting to watch themselves on the screen and the moment the first picture appeared they all shouted in excitement. As they watched the video they praised themselves and we could see the pride in their faces to have been able to come up with such a piece. At an interview with the Camera Man, he said it was the best moment in his entire life as he felt as if he had just been told he was going for Hajj (Mecca).

It was a wonderful moment and we were also proud to have initiated the process.

The benefits of the project

Despite the fact that we were unable to accomplish exactly what we had hoped, a PV on the problem on shooting range in the villages of Tohu community, one thing is certain; we have activated the community and initiated a process that is doable, sustainable and practical.

  • The community has for the first time initiated a discussion on the problem of the shooting range from the two sides of the divide, the villagers seem to have dissipated a fear of authority and opened up. The most critical points of this reality are the way some of the villagers left the hall in indignation to express themselves and their position. The second being the decision, which reverberated, on the need to hold an expanded meeting one week from now to regurgitate the issues for further action. This would lead to sustained community dialogue, which would in-turn lead to sharpening of skills for debate, negotiation and resistance.
  • The villagers have opened their eyes to the possibilities of using enlightenment, putting pressure and soliciting buy-in to solve their problems.
  • The PV format has provided for them a platform to express themselves and to seek change for their community. Being able to handle a camera, record a shot, and screen such a shot is not just a lifelong experience, but it will exert some kind of pressure on those who tried it, to secure another camera with the hope of doing it on their own.


The team received word from the community leadership after six days that the district head had turned down the request to allow us conduct the PV; what is more, we were told that we cannot return to the community to continue the project in any way. The reason being that the community has ‘unnecessarily’ attached importance to the issue of shooting range and are not likely to discuss other matters.

The team has therefore decided to stop the project, having achieved the successes listed above and having substantially achieved our stated objective.

Team members

Suleiman Haruna

Jamila Mohammed

Samuel Lawal

Maryam Mbacha

Aager Taver

Elaigwu Ameh

Omore Orifa

Jamila Umar Afilaka

Alkasim Yahaya Kajuru




Becker, D. G. Development, Democracy and Dependency in Latin America: A Post –Imperialist View. Third World quarterly 6, 411-31. 1984

Bull, H., The Anarchical Society, Basingstoke Macmillan, 1995

Chris Lunch. ICP Update. Perspectives: Participatory video –a revolution in communication for development. Issue 34, November 2006.

Dagron, Alfonso Gumucio. Making Waves: Stories of Participatory Communication for Social Change. A Report to the Rockefeller Foundation (page 61). New York. 2001

Denison, Julie. Behavior Change — A Summary of Four Major Theories. Family Health International 1996 11/12/2004 4:51:45 AM

Editorial. ICP Update. Digital Video Empowers Communities in the South. Issue 34, November 2006.

Tegan Molony, Zeze Konie and Lauren Goodsmith. Through our eyes: participatory video in West Africa.

V. N. Dubey and S. K. Bhanja. Using Video in Rural Development. Perspectives on Development Communication. Nair, S and White S. (eds). New Delhi. 1993.

The Menace of Almajirchi

The Menace of Almajirchi

Hassan Ado Sabari @hassansabari on Twitter

Almajirchi means itinerant learning. It depicts the action by which parents send their children to a different land in search of Islamic knowledge. Almajiri means any such child or a student searching for knowledge outside his area of residence. The word was derived from the Arabic “almuhaajir” meaning someone who travels, and historically, “almuhaajiruun” refer to those who moved with Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina to find solace and concentrate in their religious practice.

This practice has transformed into many variants such as those roaming the streets begging people for all kinds of help. Amongst them you will see blind, lepers, cripples and people with all forms of deformities. Almajirchi has for many centuries served its purpose of transmittal of Islamic knowledge, but has over time lost its appeal and ultimately, its value.

Today is a great day and also a day of relief for me. This is because Allah in his infinite mercy give me the chance to finally write about the subject that is bothering me in my heart for so long. So many factors make me feel so reluctant about the need to write on this topic among which are religious sentiment attached to it and culture. The longer I delayed writing, the more anger builds up within me.

Almajiri population in Nigeria has been estimated to be 6 million as at 3 years ago; this is equivalent to the population of Portugal. This is a waste of human resources considering nations like Japan that capitalize on the human resources they have for their own development. Nigeria could do the same with her almajirai by putting them to good use.

Japan has no natural resource but yet has one of the largest economies in the world. Just imagine if these 6 million people have been properly harnessed in developing the nation, Nigeria would have been proud of such population, but sadly, that enormous number is wasted as destitute. Among them we could have had Doctors, Engineers, Economist, Scientist and great politicians that could change the country for good. It is high time the country take this very seriously by enforcing laws to abolish such archaic and detrimental practices.

As a Muslim I know almajirchi to be alien to my religion and all the Muslim Scholars that are advocating for it are doing so for their selfish interest. This is because you will not find their children suffering with the same people they are enslaving. The Almajiri provide the Mallam with everything ranging from food to money. Some of them give their children qualitative western education while enslaving their Almajiri.

Every time I walk in the streets of Lagos seeing how some Nigerians disgrace the Almajiri, I feel very bad. Knowing that if those people have stayed in their cities, none of this will happen. I can’t believe how someone will think they can just make a living by roaming and begging, sleeping on the streets with ravaged clothing and exposed to so many dangers like rape infections. They will follow every car that stop in the traffic begging, moving from shop to shop in the market. Sometimes getting pennies while other times receiving insults. Some abuse Islam and the northern region and culture. How can you beg someone in the name of a God and messenger that they don’t even believe in?

The people from the villages should please learn how to take care of their kids because those kids that they send to the city pretending to learn Islamic education only end up to be a menace in the city. How can you send a child without knowing where he will sleep? What he will eat? I can go on and ask a hundred questions that cannot be answered.  I found it irresponsible to see a child as young as 4 years on the street begging. That child will be deprived of so many rights ranging from maternal love, education and many more. Any child brought up like that will grow with hatred for his parents and society for such conditions he is exposed to. He will be in the city where children of his age are going to school and experiencing care and love. That child will be maltreated by his seniors in the school and if care is not taken exposed to sexual abuses of all sort, ending up as thugs and all kind of societal nuisance. They would care about nothing because their parents are not there. This is because they are denied some crucial developmental stages in their lives by their parents.

I have a personal story to tell. The reason is to show you how the action of some minor population cause people to have a kind of generalization about all of us. Back in April 2005; I was opportune to represent my beloved city in a national quiz competition in Ondo State. All the best students from different States in the country were selected and we all met there. On getting there we were engaged in a written mathematics competition before the main quiz. I was wearing my white uniform with cap since I am student of Dawakin Tofa Science College and it happens to be a Government school in Kano. The guy I was on the same bench with look condescending on me thinking I will copy his answers .He covers his work then I laugh in my mind and say he don’t know what he’s up to. He saw me solving my math’s problem without looking at him and later wanted to copy my own to which I denied him the chance.

After the exam he approach me and ask me a ridiculous question. The question was do people from the North attend western school? To which I replied with both amazement and calmness. I did not pick offence from that because this is how the Almajiri are portraying us over there. I can see the level of sincerity and frankness the guy used to ask the question. The guy is from Enugu and possibly he was not opportune to travel anywhere outside the Igboland. If he has travel to the North he would have a different opinion about the people there. I replied by asking whether he knew one Sarki Abba, He said no. I told him Sarki Abba and I attended the same school. We became friends since then and from time to time he comes over to my place for help.

In addition, to those of us who don’t know who Sarki Abba is. He was the first to have 9 A’s in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination. Sarki Abba had 8 A’s first to which people in the other part of the country did not believe. He was called to WAEC head office in Lagos to defend the result. New question papers were given to him on which he made 9 A’s. He got admission to study Medicine at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He left a record in the Faculty of Medicine that has not been broken up till today. Immediately after his graduation he left for the United States of America to continue with his studies and career and is now one of the best Pathologists in the world. When I finished the story, the guy was speechless hearing one of the people he believed to be beggars can have this kind of achievement. There are many people like Sarki Abba in the North.

On the first day of the quiz competition I felt unease seeing people wearing all kinds of assorted uniforms while we were left to wear white uniform with jumper and cap. I was together with my three other colleagues who are now all Medical doctors namely Dr. Nazeeru Abbas, Dr. Abubakar Imam and Dr. Isma’il Hashim. We wanted to remove our caps but our quiz master Mallam Shehu Umar stopped us. We entered the hall thinking those people wearing suits and all kinds of beautiful uniform will beat us. Our quiz master encouraged us by stating that dress is not a determining factor for success. At the end of the quiz, we ran the finals with Cross-River State, which we won with a Margin of 10 points. That sent a hard message to all other States and since that day people stopped looking down on us.

The essence of this story is not to promote myself and my colleagues but to show how Almajiri have blurred our image in the eye of other people in different parts of the country. My humble opinion is for the Government and the Muslim Scholars to condemn the act, legislate its abrogation and enforce it. Islamic scholars should be encouraged to speak its ills through preaching in Lectures and Jumu’at prayers.

Engr. Hassan Ado Sabari (GreatSabari) writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

When my mother left on New Year’s Eve

As 2015 panned left and right on its ethereal, journey’s end

It begged my mother for companionship in taking this bend

My mother looked back and forth to all, family and friend

And, being generous with self, thought of this time it would spend

Away from all that she has known, to yonder, transcend

She looked back and saw a horde of grown birds, who fend

And who with society share, brood, smile and blend

And she believed that leaving now will not, apart, rend

What she had built from dewy dawn. She has no need to further tend

She took her leave, hand-in-hand with 2015…

Leaving no fences to mend

Adieu Inna. There’s a piece of you in all of us.