Drug Trafficking and the Threat to Nigeria’s National Security

Nikereuwem Stephen Ekpenyong


Drug trafficking is an ever mounting international security problem. Governments as well as international organizations such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and an array of international donors has made great strides in acknowledging the growing problem of drug trafficking and have implemented practical measures to stem this flow. Despite the efforts of national and international institutions, enormous amounts of drugs are produced, trafficked, consumed throughout the world and narco-corruption now undermines the rule of law and legitimate economic growth necessary for development and stability. Transnational crime syndicates manufacture new psychoactive substances when the governments increase controls over existing drugs. Annual number of drug-related deaths has increased to 250,000 globally. Illicit drug trade proved to be an insidious threat that finances terrorism, instigates corruption, undermines economic development and erodes state authority. One of the most alarming trends that place Nigeria and Nigerians on the radar of policy makers, law enforcement, and researchers alike is the number of new fronts on which the illicit drug trade is growing. Its geographic expansion beyond the relatively confined region of West Africa is now endangering East and Southern Africa. The arrival of new drugs to the region—heroin and Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS, commonly referred to as synthetic drugs)—has been accompanied by the discovery of local manufacturing facilities to process them. Lastly, the growing level of involvement by Nigerians—who initially served as facilitators but now appear to be taking a more proactive role—raises concerns that a new generation of drug traffickers is rising in the ranks. Nigeria is exposing to massive flows of narcotics as it lies at a strategic location. Despite the seriousness of this problem in the country, it seems not much attention has been given to this problem. Counter-narcotics policy is often subdued by counter-terrorism. Indeed, for many high-level security officials, narcotics threat is as important as its connection with the counter-terrorism campaign of the government. This paper investigates the national security implications of illicit drug trafficking trade for Nigeria.


Drug trafficking; National security; Nigeria; Security; Narco-terrorism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8974


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