Hello my Nigerian family! Here is a platform to discuss libertarian principles and figure out how they can be made applicable in Nigeria.
Let's talk about the proper role of the government in our country, rule of law, individual liberty, drug policy reforms, free markets, property rights...
What is a free society? What should be the proper role of the government in a free society? Can Nigeria be termed as a 'free society'?
For me a free society is one in which every individual has the three basic rights which are, Economic right, freedom of movement and Freedom of speech and that individual performs these rights without causing any harm to others or restriction of the rights of others.
The role of Governance in a free society is simply to provide adequate security to lives and property
People today believe that free-market economy is a lawless free-for-all, in which people can do what they want, regardless of consequences for others. But the truth is, the no-harm principle still prevails. And there is a framework of law, which covers the acquisition, ownership and exchange of property, people’s right over their own labour, and the enforceability of contracts. Nigerian government should restrict itself to its fundamental roles – provision of security; protection of property; and ensuring justice through sound legal systems. It is imperative to note that the energy of the market economy is not smothered by excessive regulations and controls. But the basic rules of property, exchange and contract allow people to cooperate, however they choose, for mutual benefit, on a basis of trust, confidence and security. That can encourage greater economic cooperation in Nigeria and multiplies the many benefits that stem from it.
Nigeria is a free society, most especially freedom of information. But there are still loop holes in the constitution that gives room for lapses. The law makers need to do more concerning the constitution amendment in order to make Nigeria a better and safe place to live.
Nigeria cannot be regarded as a free country. Although, relative to a lot of countries in Africa, it is free. But according to the recently published Freedom In The World Report by Freedom House, Nigeria is a partly free country and only 18 countries in Africa are classified as free. There is obviously a need for serious advocacy aimed at emphasizing the proper role of government and the promotion of the institutions that constitute a free society.
A free society is a society where individuals interact freely and work together peacefully without any form of authority, imposition or government interference. A free society promotes limited government, individual rights, spontaneous order, free speech, peace, love and liberty.
I believe the proper role of government in a free society is to provide for the necessary needs of individuals and set out the best policies for everyone, these should include but not limited to providing full access to care and treatment, ensuring justice is neither delayed nor denied, addressing the social welfare needs of individuals, ensuring promotion of libertarian principles.
Nigeria cannot be totally termed as a free society because the components of a supposed free society is limited. There is need to set strategies that would result into the most favourable and greatest prosperity for everyone.
The role of government in a free society is to allow individual liberty - to allow individuals to live and thrive in any way she/he chooses, so long as she/he respects the equal rights of others. The government however have the duty to upload the law and protect the citizens against external aggression.
Nigeria isn't a free society as there are daily government cohesion in almost all sector of the economy and socio political sphere.
The ban on 'sweet sweet' codeine syrup by the Nigeria's Ministry of Health, has it done more harm than good?
Obviously the ban is a knee her effect by policy makers who tend to be reactionary and ignore the demand of codeine cough syrup, according to recent facts the price of codeine has gone up by 79% making it way more expensive, which makes users/abusers to pay more to get it, also suppliers have placed a risk premium which skyrocketed the price by 70%.
Also there is the part of law enforcement, police and ndlea whom are know for human abuses have begun to raid and intimidate pharmacies that they suspect to be selling codeine, which results to extortion and blackmailing.
The ban has done more harm than good, since the demand hasn't reduce, it's effect/impact is yet to be feasible among the populace
The ban on codeine has done more harm due to the people switching from codeine to another drug of different forms such as methylated spirit with coke, gum, overdose paracetamol and others.
The ban also enhance black market of codeine products and increase the profit on the products.
The government should have induce a proper mechanisms to tackle drug abuse than placing ban on products, this will only thrive their substitute product and encourage black market of such product encouraging people to venture into it since high profit is guaranteed. Ban is not the answer to solve drug abuse.
Part of the duties of any government is to make policies that are beneficial to the citizens, even when the citizens, or some of them, may not like the policies. The ban of codeine is one of such policy steps taken by the Nigerian government in recent times. While this is a good step in the sense that codiene has become as addictive as Indian hemp and other hard drugs to Nigerian youths and should therefore be controlled, the question is how effective is it to ban this drug?
Given the current spate of corruption in the country, the ban of codiene, in my opinion, will just serve to enrich smugglers and corrupt officials more. Is it legal to smoke indian hemp in Nigeria? No. Yet we go to places like motor parks and see people smoking it with impunity there. Where are the officers that are meant to enforce the law against its use? Most of them have either been bribed to look the other way or have come to take it as a norm. Yet it is these same set of officers that the onus of enforcing the ban on codeine would fall on.
Furthermore, although the ban is not wrong to me as it is in the greater interest of the country, yet its mode of enforcement is very wrong and ineffective. It is wrong for the government to ban codiene and set the anti-drug law enforcement officers loose to raid pharmacies that still sell the product. Most of these pharmacies bought the said codiene when it was not illegal. Are they supposed to discard them thereby suffering loss simply because they have become illegal? We all know that is highly unlikely as pharmacies are businesses that are interested in making profit. At the very least they would sell the said codiene to black market drug sellers, many of whom already roam the streets openly selling unregistered drugs like common toiletries, unchecked.
In addition, banning drugs when the socio-economic environment is conducive to drug addiction is as ineffective as treating individual symptoms of immune deficiency in an HIV patient rather than treating the root problem wihch is HIV. It is only a reactionary measure where proactive measures are required. With the ban of codiene, addicts would switch to other addictive drugs and substances, and the government would keep chasing every new drug to ban it.
What the government needs is to create an environment that diacourages the illicit use and abuse of drugs and addictive substabces. Corruption should be tackled. Government can offer to replace the stock of codiene owned by pharmacies nationwide at no cost to the pharmacies to prevent them from taking illegal steps to ensure they don't make loss by discarding the codiene. This, along with tighter borders manned by less corrupt officials, would prevent the drugs from entering the black market.
Finally the government needs to look into revamping the economy and provide jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youths, or create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and even support budding entrepreneurs. This way, youths would have less time to spend on getting high and experimenting on more creative ways to drown their sorrows in a pool of highness.
Banning codiene is not the solution to codiene addiction inispecific and drug addiction generally. It does more harm than good as the environment is conducive to ban-related abuses and evils.
Banning codeine is not a solution to the abuse of drugs and substances amongst the populace. if you ban codeine, addicts look for the next available options. addressing the causes of addiction such as unemployment, watching the borders and increasing education on the dangers of addiction are the better options.
“Statistics shows that a lot of youths have lost their jobs and many are unemployed. We should create job opportunities and a better environment for our youth. Let us also have a curriculum on drug addiction and its effects right from primary to secondary school.
Nigeri has porous borders and most addicts patronize the black market. The ban on codeine is akin to depriving local manufacturers and giving more money to those in the black market. Obviously, the ban has done more harm than good.
'Drugs are poisons' is what they say but with the right use, they become therapeutic agent. Over the last one decade, the misuse and abuse of, and overindulgence in drugs have become the talk of the town among all age groups with higher prevalence among adolescents and adults. The Federal Government ban the importation, distribution and production of Codeine because of the outcry addiction video released by BBC Africa tagged Sweet Sweet Codeine.
From my own perspective, banning the importation, distribution and production of codeine is like sending the arrow of war in the wrong direction. Codeine is a potent drug with widespread use in treating various diseases condition. It, a narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant, is added to cough medicine preparation. It is used as antitussive (to relieve cough) and as analgesic (to relieve pain) and sometimes mixed with aspirin to enhance activity.
Few days after the ban, being an evidence driven individual, I created a poll on my Facebook wall to seek people's opinion on the issue of the ban. Even though, people with the opinion that support the ban is greater than people with the opinion of regularization of production, distribution and importation which is 56% to 44%. It is obvious that the people with the opinion which support the ban is due to emotional sentiment based on the harm the abuse of the drug is causing in the society. Speaking from the view of most of the drug experts, vast majority of them are against the ban because of the clinical usefulness of the drug in managing ailments. According to Pharm Emem Okon, "Codeine containing cough syrup is necessary. I have seen cases of cough that respond effectively to this. However, the rate of abuse is alarming. The fact that pharmacies and patent medicine vendors aid this abuse just to make profit is also a major issue. This moves will however affect those who would have really benefited from this medication."
Personally, I'd say that this is a wrong move. This move is like treating the symptoms, instead of the cause. This move will only give teeth to the underworld and black market dealers in this drug to make more money off Nigerian youths. A drug dependent person can go to any length to get the drug he or she is dependent on. Even if it means shedding blood! To control drug abuse among youths, government should not be confrontational. Drug dependent people should be seen as sick people who need treatment, and not as criminals who should be locked away in prison.
There is need for more rehabilitation centres to cater for these guys who are suffering from substance abuse disorder. Again, the NDLEA should carry out more advocacies in schools where these young lads are deceived into substance use. The major causes of drug abuse among youths are unemployment and peer group pressure. Government should try and provide jobs for the teeming youths, while parents should monitor their wards' peers. This move will only worsen the already worsened situation.
If at all codeine was banned, what of tramadol, pit latrine, marijuana, methamphetamine, cannabis, heroin and other means the addict used in getting high? Seriously, this is uncalled for and won't solve any of the existing problem.
It is time to accept that for many people the use of drugs plays an important and functional part in their lives. For many, the risk related to their use lies within inherent personal and social vulnerabilities and the way they use the drug. Given current laws, policies to reduce harm from drug use need to be pragmatic and receptive to the evidence. Governments need to promote honest conversations about drug use and harm and avoid selectively listening to evidence that supports pre-existing ideological or political positions. We can make a good start in reducing harm by engaging in conversations with people who use drugs, and who are also very interested in protecting their health and wellbeing while they do so.
Adebisi Yusuff Adebayo
Public Relations Officer, Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria Students, University of Ibadan and the President of Sensible Students for Drug Policy(SSDP), University of Ibadan.