In an open letter to The Economist responding to the article entitled “The wars don’t work“, WACD chair and former president of Nigeria reiterates that West Africa has become a transit route for drug trafficking into Europe and America, but warns that the region should not become a new front line in the failed war on Drugs.
Former president of Nigeria Abeokuta,
West Africa, too, has become a significant transit route to Europe and North America for drugs, as trafficking networks establish footholds by exploiting weak governing systems. Drug-related violence has not become a big feature of the drug trade in the region so far, but that may yet change.
Local consumption of illicit drugs has also increased, but the region is neither prepared nor equipped to deal with the problem. Rich countries whose citizens consume large amounts of drugs must share the burden and seek humane ways to reduce the demand (prevention, harm reduction, treatment). They must also do more to support countries “caught in the middle”.
African delegations recently caused the withdrawal of a vote on ketamine at the UN, a hopeful sign that the continent is waking up to the issues and learning from mistakes made elsewhere. The West Africa Commission on Drugs, which I chair, does not want the region to become a new front line in the failed war on drugs. I sincerely hope that neither will Asia, which was the focus of your article.
The full article can be accessed here.