Over 200 people arrested at the plush marijuana themed party
The Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in a joint operation with the Department for State Security (DSS) raided the Diplomatic Suite Hotel in the plush Asokoro District of the federal capital Abuja on Wednesday. The raid led to the arrest of over 200 people for attending a marijuana party and launch of a new psychoactive drink according to the NDLEA press release signed by Femi Babafemi the NDLEA media director.
“The hotel was raided at about 8:18pm on Wednesday April 20th following actionable intelligence that some youths were planning to hold a hemp party at the hotel. Quantities of cannabis sativa was recovered from pockets and bags of those arrested at the hemp party.” The statement read.
The NDLEA further said it was “audacious attempt” by some elements in society to create a drug sub culture in the Nigerian social space, the agency vowed to continue the war on “illicit substances” to prevent the drug sub culture to be entrenched in society.
The “420” phenomena is cannabis slang for marijuana and hashish consumption, especially smoking around the time 4:20 p.m., and also refers to cannabis-theme celebrations that take place annually on April 20 (which is 4/20 in US form). At locations in the United States where cannabis is legal, cannabis shops will often offer discounts on their products on April 20.
Analysts in Nigeria are calling the NDLEA war on drugs a failure and that marijuana should be legalised. A commentator on Twitter said. “One should not be arrested for using a plant.”
The agency established by Decree Number 48 of 1989 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida has so far failed in eradicating marijuana cultivation and consumption. In the book “The Ikoyi Prison Narratives” it is believed that marijuana came with returning Nigerian soldiers who had fought in Burma during World War Two.
It then became a sub culture among Nigerian security personnel until the 1970s when the late Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti on his return from America began widespread dealing and consumption of the plant at his Afrika Shrine and his residence the Kalakuta Republic. From then onwards it became synonymous with rebellious popular youth culture.
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