From lashes to the death penalty for cannabis in Nigeria


Even minors are punished to be whipped for possession of cannabis in Nigeria, which has the heaviest penalties in the world for marijuana

Cannabis in Nigeria. This African country is infamous for having the cruelest laws against any drug, including cannabis.

The law that governs this issue is the INDIAN HEMP ACT, which is the act on marijuana. It is a very extensive treaty from which we are going to extract some paragraphs that give an idea of ​​the extent to which the use of cannabis in this country is dangerous. But what seems totally out of all human logic and an absolute lack of respect for human rights is that even minors can be whipped for having been caught smoking marijuana.

Let’s look at some paragraphs of the draconian law that governs the use, sale and export of cannabis in Nigeria.

INDIAN HEMP ACT

Offences

1. Meaning of “Indian hemp”.

2.        Planting or cultivating Indian hemp.

3.        Unlawful importation or sale of Indian hemp.

4.        Exportation of Indian hemp.

5.        Smoking or unlawful possession of Indian hemp.

6.        Possession of utensils for use in smoking Indian hemp.

7.        Use of premises for sale, smoking, etc., of Indian hemp.

Meaning of “Indian hemp”

1.        In this Act “Indian hemp” means-

(a)      any plant or part of a plant of the genus cannabis; or

(b)      the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from any plant of the genus cannabis; or

(c)       any preparation containing any such resin, by whatever name that plant, part, resin or preparation may be called.

2.        Planting or cultivating Indian hemp

 Any person who knowingly plants or cultivates any plant of the genus cannabis shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced either to death or to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty-one years.

 A person charged with an offence under this section shall be tried summarily by a single Judge of the High Court within whose jurisdiction the offence was committed.

Unlawful importation or sale of Indian hemp

(1)      Any person who-

(a)      imports any Indian hemp; or

(b)      knowingly sells any Indian hemp, shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty-one years:

A person charged with an offence under this section shall be tried summarily by a single Judge of the High Court within whose jurisdiction the offence was committed.

 Exportation of Indian hemp

Subject to this Act, any person who exports any Indian hemp shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty-one years.

Smoking or unlawful possession of Indian hemp

(1)      Any person who-

(a)      smokes any Indian hemp; or

(b)      knowingly has any Indian hemp in his possession, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than four years without the option of a tine:

Provided that

Where a person convicted of an offence under this subsection is a child or a young person within the meaning of the Children and Young Persons Law of a state or the Children and Young Persons Act of the Federal Capital Territory (that is to say, a person who is not more than seventeen years of age) he shall, in addition to twenty-one strokes of the cane, be sentenced to two years in a borstal or such similar institution or to a fine of N200.

Possession of utensils for use in smoking Indian hemp

Any person who, knowingly has in his possession, any pipe or other utensil for use in connection with the smoking of Indian hemp shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.

7.        Use of premises for sales, smoking, etc., of Indian hemp

(1)      Any person who, being the occupier of any premises, permits those premises to be used for any of the following purposes, that is to say-

(a)      selling Indian hemp;

(b)      smoking Indian hemp; or

(c)       preparing Indian hemp for smoking, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years without the option of a fine:

Religious fanaticism and ignorance are the main obstacles to the legalization of cannabis in Nigeria

Nigeria has a good environment to grow cannabis. However, according to NDLA, the states where most crops exist are Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta. Last September the NDLA got rid of several cannabis farms seizing 31 kilograms of dried flowers and arrested 30 people.

Cannabis has other names in Nigeria. It can be called igbo, dope, ganja, sensi, kuma, morocco, eja, kpoli, weed, trees, etc. Even though Nigerians usually smoke it, some people soak the plant in alcoholic drinks. Other people like cooking with cannabis or even boil it to drink tea.

There are several laws in Nigeria which prohibit cultivating, possessing and consuming cannabis.

Being an illicit substance, it has always been a crime in Nigeria to smoke cannabis and it has largely been seen as a ragged people behavior. However, despite increased arresting of growers, sellers and consumers, cannabis seems to be consumed in ever greater amounts.

The possession of marijuana is illegal and the owner can be given a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison. If the trafficking is more important, life imprisonment may be imposed.

Recently, there have been some calls from different sectors of society to legalize the use of cannabis. This legal thinking considers the mistakes behind the rules that proscribe the production, sale and use of cannabis.

But being a strictly Muslim country, the President and most of the legislators do not want to know anything about legalization and consider the cannabis consumer a sinner that goes against the rules of Islam.

The Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) warns against any intent or plan in order to legalize the cultivation of cannabis in Nigeria for any purpose.

Chairman of the Committee, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), the person who warned against the idea yesterday, stated that such move will be very negative now that the federal government is doing whatever necessary to erase the menace of drug abuse in this Muslim country.

He was very angry when he said that it was disturbing that now, when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing marijuana, any person or group will be thinking of Nigeria to declare legal cannabis for medical, recreational or economic reasons. The Committee has been traveling across the country for six months trying to get information about the dangers of cannabis abuse and the way to fight against it. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), says he really worried about the impact marijuana is having among the youths.

President Muhammadu Buhari was very worried about the matter. That is the reason why he decided to set up PACEDA, in order to find a long lasting solution to the problem. Therefore, the government is not going to keep the mouth shut while some people are trying to sabotage the efforts of the federal government.

The President says he cannot forget how many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs were made prescription medicines when thousands of people, young and adult, were abusing them. After this experience the government cannot accept cannabis legalization because they think the people will abuse the drug. No economic benefit is worth the life of any Nigerian who will die because of cannabis abuse. Therefore, the government wants to unify all the efforts from the federal, state and local governments in order to erase the menace of cannabis abuse instead of getting involved in any productive business.

In order to generate wealth to the country, Nigeria government wants to avoid the bad health that cannabis causes among the citizens.

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