Sweet sweet codeine: Nigeria’s cough syrup crisis – BBC Africa Eye documentary


Codeine cough syrup is causing a plague
of addiction across Nigeria. This thing is a serious issue, it is biting everybody, it’s going from one home to another. If you think you are safe you’re not safe. Those hooked risk organ failure and even descent into madness. He is shouting
He is screaming He is still having his withdrawal symptom,
he is still having withdrawal issues now. Addicts are being clapped in chains
because syrup has turned them into thugs. I don’t want you to get close… This is what cough syrup does… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this. I weep for this nation because they don’t even know what they’re doing, they don’t even know what they are taking. Africa Eye goes undercover exposing the crooks and professionals professionals putting industrial
quantities of syrup or Nigeria’s streets. This is a product I know that if I have
one million cartons, I can sell it in a week. We will take you into a criminal
underworld where pharmaceutical company managers. act like drug barons. Where there are lots of school kids,
as soon as they get a taste for it, they’ll keep pestering you for more. We join crack anti-drug squads putting their lives on the line to smash up syrup cartels. This is the frontline against the war on syrup. This is ******* unbelievable. And we ask: is the government doing enough
to stop the people behind this this? These drugs are not coming from the moon. They’re not coming from under the sea. They are manufactured somewhere. They are transported from one place to the other. Are we saying that we don’t know? Come on. “That was so stupid.
It was so dumb.” “I don’t see what people
get out of being high.” People all over the world are addicted
to cough syrup with codeine. It’s a medicine that has become
a street drug. A sweet, sweet strawberry taste
that makes you high and hooks you. Over time it will kill you. “Yo, codeine.” I can search my Facebook page and find
hundreds of videos of people getting high. It’s America, it’s in South Africa,
it’s in my country – Nigeria. In just two states the government says 3
million bottles are consumed every single day. A lot of these people have no idea
what they are getting in to. They have no idea that as much as
it’s a recreational hip thing cough syrup is very addictive. It will take them to places they do not
want to go. It’s so bad that our government is sending
armies of drug agents to destroy syrup They raid our cities in the dead of
night “Syrup. Syrup *****.” The National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency or NDLEA are out on the streets every week in northern Nigeria. Squads of agents ready to take on
heavily armed drug gangs. Tonight, they’re not looking for
heroine or crack cocaine. They are looking for codeine cough syrup. As the NDLEA trucks pulled up people
scattered and hid. The SWAT team storms seedy hotels
looking for dealers and users. There’s a heavy smell of weed! Officers told us men take women to these
hotels for sex often drugging them first with a codeine cough syrup cocktail. Mixed with coca-cola the women get high
and vulnerable to rape. In one room we found two men having sex with a young woman while two other men watched. The agents found an empty bottle of Biolin codeine cough syrup hidden in the roof. Hold this bottle please. -It’s Biolin?
-Biolin. This is the frontline against the war on syrup. This is how serious taking codeine is. This is ******* unbelievable. More than 20 people were arrested. Huge amounts of taxpayers’ money is being spent on fighting codeine cough syrup but we are not winning this war. Criminals are too smart and too many, so the syrup keeps on flowing. It’s not hard to find Nigeria’s boys
getting their syrup high. If someone wants to get some,
how easy can you get it? Oh, it’s very easy. The more we like it,
the more we get it. Even now, if you like it, it is
easy for me to purchase it for you. It’s not hard to find Nigeria syrup girls either. Even religious women drink it. Campaigners who want codeine syrup banned,
believe the scale of the problem is massive. Most extended families have had
an experience of cough syrup addiction, either by a boy or a girl, even a parent.
So it’s beyond every imagination you could think of. Has anybody asked the obvious question in Nigeria,
where is all this syrup coming from? And how does it get on our streets? I suspected crooks inside Nigerian pharmaceutical companies might be secretly selling it to the underworld. but in order to prove this I needed to
work with the best. When it comes to digging out corruption in Nigeria,
few are better than Adejwuon Soyinka, the editor of BBC Pidgin. We began at the bottom of the food chain,
meeting with dealers and cult gang members in Lagos. If we spoke to these criminals openly as journalists, we could have been killed. We needed to deploy secret filming equipment. I mean that’s the only way of being able to do this
and remaining alive, actually. I had to create a new identity
for myself and presented myself as a businessman who is really very greedy
and you know is willing to go into any business that is able to bring in money. So we came up with the most despicable
cover story for Adejuwon you can imagine. He pretended he was a businessman
who wanted to buy large amounts of syrup… to sell to students and children. Going under the fake name “Mr Johnson”,
Adejuwon made his way through gang contacts, pushing for links to crooks
in pharmaceutical companies, aware everyone was suspicious of police agents. Eventually we got our first big break. Just find a way to park the car in such a way
that if we need to leave quickly, we’d be able to do so. These early stages were very nerve wracking.
They were scary for every single member of the team. Sources gave us a tip-off about a major supplier to the black market – a pharmacist called Mr Pascal. On the surface he runs a normal pharmacy
but behind the scenes he illegally sells cough syrup to gangs. He does this, we later found out, with the help of a corrupt employee working for Lagos based
Emzor pharmaceuticals – one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria. I was introduced to this guy by the guys
in the underworld. They belong to a network. So, I was worried, could they possibly
spring a surprise, you know. But as it turned out,
they were willing to do business. -Have a seat.
-Anywhere here? Sure. It took a while to encourage or convince the
pharmacist that I actually meant business. He was basically
asking probing questions wanting to know who I was and where I came from and
check out my claims to being a genuine businessman. I can go to the market and meet my Emzor distributor
and tell him I need hundred cartons. He’ll make it available for me. But if you go, they cannot even sell one carton to you
because they don’t know who you are. Everybody is being cautious.
Do you understand? Yeah. I wouldn’t want something that will land me
up in the police net or NDLEA net or anything. Eventually when he got convinced that
actually meant business then he opened up and told me about how the business is
conducted and how he gets his own supplies from sales reps of
pharmaceutical companies. I do distributorship.
I do distribution for Emzor. These products, if I want to get them,
it’s going to be easy for me. I will establish the relationship between you and
the reps of the brands you want, and I will call them,
they will come. So he takes products from pharmaceutical companies
and then rather than sell with prescription, passes them on to the underworld
where these things are sold openly on the streets to young boys who
basically abuse it and get high on syrup with codeine. So that’s what it does. – Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
– You’re welcome. I will expect your call later today or should I call you? What time should I call you? I’ll call you before the day runs out. By the end of the meeting
Mr Pascal agreed a deal. He would set up a meeting for us
with a man from Emzor Pharmaceuticals who supplies the black market
direct from the Emzor factory. And once that first break came,
it became a waterfall. Unlike most street drugs codeine cough
syrup is produced on an industrial scale. Dozens of Nigerian companies legally
manufacture it. It is not illegal to drink codeine. But it is to sell it to people without a doctor’s prescription or a pharmaceutical licence. Vast quantities are seized and destroyed
by the government every year – tonnes of it in northern Nigeria last year. But even this fire has hardly even
singed the illegal trade. In Lagos, syrup’s impact
has become crazy. One pharmacy has been forced
to turn into a fortress to defend itself against
thirsty codeine addicts. So when we first opened the pharmacy
we did not have this burglar proof. We just had this security door
and over time we’ve had to install this because of the challenges
we were having with security. People who come in for the syrups
and the rest, so we had to install this. Mr Idowu stopped selling syrup in 2010 but this hasn’t stopped addicts wanting their codeine fix from trying to attack his staff. Business is now done through security bars
and CCTV monitors everything. They just come, codeine, codeine, codeine
or code, code, give me code. I’m like, these guys, you are too young for this.
You don’t even know what you are taking. Just down the road from Turmeric Pharmacy, we found guys openly drinking
codeine syrup at a bar. Do these people actually know the negative effect,
side effects of this product? What it will do to them psychologically? Physiologically?
You know how it damages their organs and the rest. And I weep for this nation
because they don’t even know. They don’t even know what they are doing.
They don’t even know what they are asking for. Codeine addiction could lead
to a number of things. It could lead to almost
every organ failure. People can have inflammation
of the pancreas, pancreatitis. People can have liver damage,
people could have kidney damage. You could all kinds of damages –
that is even in the long run. In the short run people become
schizophrenic, literally mad. The day after our first meeting with corrupt pharmacist Mr Pascal, we met him again at a restaurant. And as promised he brought with him an Emzor
employee to discuss an illegal cough syrup deal. We could never have imagined
who he would bring. Not a small-time factory worker, but a Business Development Executive of Emzor Pharmaceuticals. Chukwunonye Madubuike, seen on the right. Despite knowing we had no licence to buy codeine syrup and wanted to sell it to students, Madubuike got straight to business. Normally, if you are not a pharmacist;
if you don’t have a pharmacy shop, I shouldn’t supposed to sell it to you.
Do you understand me? That aside, we are here
for business. He has a deep knowledge of the distribution
channel for pharmaceutical products. Both official and the unofficial. And he also gave me a deeper
understanding of and into why cough syrup business is
big business in the underworld. This is a product that I know that if I have
one million cartons, I can sell it in a week. – If you have what?
– One million cartons. I can sell it in a week. – Really?
– It’s a product that the demand is high. Higher than even the production.
Higher than even the supply. He was telling me look, this product is
highly addictive so you will make your money. You will make your money because
you can mark up the price and those who consume it, because they are
hooked on this product, on codeine… They have no choice but to buy a cough syrup
with codeine from you at whatever price
you have placed on it. You know drug addicts. When an addict comes up,
and he comes and there is no money. He wouldn’t mind dropping even the key
of his motor car just to satisfy that urge… Satisfy that urge immediately. Be super smart and vigilant.
It’s a paradise! The biggest irony is that
this meeting held on a Sunday. So, this Business Executive of Emzor Pharmaceuticals,
who is clearly making money, feeding on the back of the addictive nature
of cough syrup with codeine, came straight from church
to hold this meeting with me. Thank you very much. I look forward to us doing very,
very useful, good business. I say nobody has ever met me
for business and regretted it. We left that meeting
with a deal sealed. Madubuike agreed to sell us a carton
of 60 bottles of cough syrup with codeine straight out of the Emzor factory. Codeine cough syrup is personal to me. Showing you who is responsible for the
codeine addiction is my story too. Yeah, this is C as a baby. This would have been early 80s. Very handsome child. Still handsome. And I still love him, a lot . My brother, who is called C, has struggled with addiction. He didn’t want to appear in this film but has agreed I can tell his story. He has taught me what addiction can do. His troubles began a few years ago after our father, Godwin Agbroko – an investigative journalist like me – was assassinated. My family found out the terrible news in a
phone call from my then newspaper editor. He said, Ruona I can’t lie to you, we have to go to press and I just realised nobody has told you people. And I said, wait, wait, sir, what’s going on? And he said, your Dad is dead. I’m not going to lie and this is the first time I’ve said it openly. I felt relief. I felt relief because we knew he was going to be killed for a long time. There was so many threats, so many. We had people follow us because of what he used to write. My father was killed for fighting injustice.
And it tore our family apart. I went the way the way of work, and my brother went the way of drug addiction. Grief pushed him into a bad crowd, as it does to many addicts I have met. Sometimes I think, if my Dad was here… …would things be like this? Who’s to say things wouldn’t be like this hey? They could still be like this. Once C fell into addiction, he quit school disappearing for months. I found out he was using codeine syrup through messages on his Facebook page. Some journalists pursue stories for fun or for money. I am pursuing cough syrup in anger, in rage, in love. I do it in memory of my father. I do it for the love of my brother. If I can stop just one family, one person from going through this… If one person can see what signs to look out for then I think I will have done my job. A few days after our first meeting with Emzor Executive, Madubuike, he called and gave us a location for our cough syrup drug deal – a hotel on his turf in the Lagos suburb of Isolo. We booked a room at the hotel and drove there with a bag stuffed with cash to make the purchase. Adejuwon met Madubuike in the bar. Hey my brother, how are you? What’s up?
How is work? How is everything? When I walked into that bar he gave me the impression that he came alone. But I noticed that there were about five young men who sat in different corners of the bar and pretended like they didn’t know him. But I got a sense when I walked in that there was a connection between all of them. And I could sense that they were all sizing me up. Bring it and we just go upstairs together. You know, at every point there was a fear that they may just have discovered who I really am and maybe setting up a trap for me to just walk in and take me out. Because these boys could be armed. It’s the third floor they put me on. The places where we had to do these deals in Isolo were at the bottom of the ladder. And understandably so. Because that’s where this type of criminal activity will thrive. That’s where it’s better protected. That’s where the henchmen are. That’s where the foot soldiers live. – Sorry, that is my friend.
– Okay. – Oscar.
– Okay. Oscar this is my friend as well and my business colleague too, Mr Johnson. Take this thing. Take key, tear it. A pack of Emzolyn codeine syrup was put on the table. That’s it. OK. So this is two, four, six, eight, ten. I asked him how do I knew if what I was
buying this fake. He brought out, you know, opened the carton by himself, brought out a bottle of Emzolyn and showed me several signs that he used to know if I was buying fake or not. Now this is the batch number. When you look at it, this L-9-7-4-W. 9-7-4-W, that is the batch number of it. While he was saying all of that, you know, all that was going through my mind was how many lives have been ruined by cough syrup with codeine. The same product that this guy was selling to me, knowing full well that I was going to potentially distribute this to university students. To children that have been sent to school to learn. But hence I release to you is direct from the oven. It’s oven baked. It’s oven baked.
Fresh, freshly baked. Look at the carton. It is sealed, it’s sealed with Emzor. Let me tell you one thing; this thing is like an addict. When somebody is addicted to something, you get me? And he needs it – the price I don’t think is an issue on this. And when a person knows that he gets the best quality. – They go for you.
– They feel you. Let me get the cash then. The fact that he knew that this was addictive, he actually told me himself about how addictive this product is. And he had no qualms about selling a carton of sixty bottles to me. It’s 92,000 naira. It’s complete right? – How much is it?
– 9-2 After this meeting with these gentlemen, it was clear to us that Emzor Pharmaceuticals is leaking cough syrup with codeine. And it’s leaking that directly to the underworld and fuelling addiction on the streets of Nigeria. Go and do exploits! Let me tell you one thing about the business. I’m a core business person. You want something that will benefit him, and at the same time benefit you. We are working on trust. And of course he’s been calling me ever since then. I mean he started calling me like four or five days after making the drop off because he wanted more money. Adejuwon poured the Emzor syrup down into the Lagos sewer. We didn’t want it to end up on the black market, or in the hands of an addict. Emzor Pharmaceuticals told us it’s investigating Mr Madubuike, adding he has access to a very limited amount of Emzolyn with codeine and could not possibly sell large quantities illegally. The company says it is a responsible and compliant business , is reviewing distribution policies and treating our findings with the utmost seriousness. Mr Pascal and Stella Charles pharmacy did not respond to us. This is the evidence that people sell codeine products without a prescription. And as we have gathered this evidence now, our only hope is that this trouble won’t be for nothing. The government needs to wake up. The pharmaceutical industry needs to wake up. Pharmacists in Nigeria and all over Africa need to wake up and make sure this kind of thing does not happen again. To make sure young people don’t get access to this kind of thing on the street. Because this kind of thing destroys their lives. 1,100 kilometres north of Lagos in
Kano the volume of cough syrup leaking out of pharmaceutical companies
and onto the black market is clear. The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency in the city commander Hamza Umar showed me his storage rooms where drugs seized from criminals are kept. Now we are going inside the main store where these exhibits are kept, right inside you can see. Inside the store is a mountain of drugs. Cocaine, heroine, weed but also thousands of bottle of cough syrup intended for the streets. It’s hidden in rice sacks, bags and even wedding gifts. Everything you see here is codeine, everything. Let me move some bags of these because you see there are many. You can hear the sound of the bottles, you can hear the bottles clinking. If you like you can look at the heavy ones, all is codeine, you can see the ones they are white. That’s codeine and too heavy. You can the hear the way it sounds. All is codeine. It wasn’t just sacks – some of the syrup looked as though it was straight out of the factory. Now here ,you can see we have tonnes tonnes tonnes tonnes of it. – Just one product.
– Just one product and seized from one person. – One person had this?
– Yes, Yes. The war against cough syrup in Kano is overwhelming. This thing is spreading like a bushfire in the dry savannah. And we are seeing, the rate this thing is moving, I will say we are getting towards a hopeless society. And it crosses all classes, no matter the level- rich and poor, educated and illiterate, a beggar and a toddler. But this must be a very huge drain on your resources, on your budgets, and even on your men. It is, it is. It is, it is, it is and don’t forget this is what we are able to arrest. We may not arrest 10% considering our capacity, our logistics and the men. And to take that ten per cent of syrup off Kano’s streets Commander Hamza’s men must risk their lives battling codeine gangs. Some officers have even been killed. We raided a house and suddenly I just saw somebody with this dangerous weapon. What did he do? He tried to like as in cut off my leg. But I was so lucky it was only my flesh that he was able to remove. He sliced off your flesh there. Of course yes. The array of weapons used by gangs dealing in syrup shocked me. It’s like props from in Nollywood war film
except this is real This chainsaw was recently even used to attack one of our officers. But before he could get to the person one of our armed men took off his leg. – Shot him?
– Yes. This is mostly used when they have overpowered you. They use this saw to make sure that they “pieces” you. Decapitate you? While you are alive? While you are alive. How do you feel when your men almost lose their lives trying to stop cough syrup from getting on the streets? Sad, very terrible
It’s seriously a hectic task. – Stopping cough syrup?
– Yes, it is seriously a hectic task. Almost all of the cough syrup I saw in the Commander’s storage rooms were produced by two companies. Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals and Bioraj. The city of Ilorin in central Nigeria is the codeine cough syrup capital of the country. Tonnes and tonnes is produced here every year. It’s where the Peace Standard and Bioraj factories are based. We checked into a hotel remaining undercover throughout our stay – disguising ourselves as business people with cash in our suitcases, hungry to buy cough syrup from the black market. Syrup dealers were everywhere.
We couldn’t trust anyone. Sometimes we could get a sense that people were trying to eavesdrop on our conversation, you know. They were actually really after understanding who we were and what we were doing there. And trying to get to know exactly what we came for. Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals has a large factory on the edge of Illorin. We got an invitation to meet with a senior figure at the company, Superintendent Pharmacist, Mr Kamaldeen Abu Saeed. It’s a fairly big premises. Mr Abu-Seed had told us we should mention his name at the gate. And immediately we did that it was like open sesame. We were ushered in. The Superintendent Pharmacist, Mr Abu-Saeed, had been called before government authorities just a few weeks before we arrived to explain why their codeine syrup was on the black market. We wondered, would he be willing to do a syrup deal with us? Morning, good morning. How are you today? As soon as we mentioned cough syrup he
did not flinch, he did not waver. He did not betray any emotion. Other than to lean forward and tell us to continue speaking. You know, some of my friends mentioned
to me the fact that the codeine business is doing well. But there is a caveat. As we both know, I would require some form of permit to be able to sell or even take products. which I do not have and which
I believe I cannot possibly get because I am not a certified pharmacist. But I’m hoping that I could get products, and actually my target market in Ogun state is students because I hear that this product moves a lot among them; among students. The long and short of it is that, I’m ready to do business with you, like you said. Although I must also state that that product is a very scarce product. Instead of throwing us out of his office Abu-Saeed, was prepared to do business – but only if a smokescreen was in place. You know I’m meeting you for the first time but I feel I should open up some things to you. To tell you the nitty gritty. For example, in your own case now, if on a normal platform, if I want to release to you, you must have a pharmacist fronting for you. Do you get? That will front for you, when you need to collect such things. Maybe you have a business agreement with them. So you will now help us supply? We will now supply through that pharmacy outlet. Supplying a pharmacy outlet is legal but
supplying that outlet in the full knowledge it is a front for black-market
buyers is not. We outlined the plan again just to be sure this was what Mr Abu-Saeed was advising. – Suppose we start by say attaching ourselves to –
– To a pharmacy outlet – That is already able to take product from you.
– Established, yes. – And just for the purpose of – you know – a smokescreen to have other product and then have the codeine product that is primarily our target. Can we go through that process? You can now – that is what I am advising you. Here is a pharmacist, respected, senior, known in the industry, contributed to academic journals and he was teaching me how to beat the system, how to subvert the system. Peace Standard told us Mr Abu-Saeed did not teach us to subvert the system or advise setting up a front. It said the company does not supply syrup with codeine illegally and only supplies accredited outlets. With syrup finding its way out of
pharmaceutical companies and onto our streets, it’s no surprise we have
millions of addicts in this country. Some of them end up in government
rehabilitation centers alongside people with mental illness I visited this one. I visited this one in Kano. It’s one of a dozen in the state. It’s a place of nightmares. This cough syrup addict was found out of control in the city, arrested and brought into the centre a few days before. – He is shouting.
– He is screaming. He is still having his withdrawal symptom, he is having his withdrawal issue now. Staff chained him to a tree. He was too violent
to be close to others. This is what cough syrup does… This can be anyone’s brother. This can
be anyone’s husband. This can be anyone’s family member. The only way to stop it is for people to stop selling this thing to people, they need to stop selling it. The rehab centre does not have the funds to deal with the number of syrup patients it receives. Addicts are often chained to the floor. Overuse of codeine affects the brain, causes insanity in some cases – and some addicts become violent They will stay like this for weeks, swarming with flies. No books. No television. Nothing. And still they keep coming. As I’m talking to you its alarming. For every week that passes, before we could get may be two or three within a week but now we see 7, 8, sometimes even 10 within the week. Many of the cough syrup addicts are suffering – shivering and unstable with withdrawal symptoms. I spoke to a young man chained to the floor. We agreed to hide faces out of respect. Honestly, the side effect of codeine is really huge. It is very easy and common for one to go mad as a result of taking it. It makes one completely gone berserk. In one room, we found a girl of just 16 years. She’s been in the centre two months, feeling weak and still shaking as the syrup leaves her system. Her message to others is simple. Honestly I will advise them not to go into it if they haven’t already – it will ruin their lives. It really breaks my heart to see children like this and see young men like this. Honestly, it’s really really bad. And everybody knows the situation of this codeine now. It’s not a hidden thing. We can’t lie to ourselves and we can’t deceive anybody. The truth should be told. And when I say it out that this thing is a serious issue, it is biting everybody. It’s going from one home to another. If you think you are safe, you are not safe. Just before I left the rehab centre a boy was brought in having been found on the street. He was delirious and soon became unconscious. Doctors struggled to find a vein to revive him with a drip. Three days later this boy was dead and Sani couldn’t rule out cough syrup abuse, although we’ll never know for sure. What is sure, Sani later told us, this is what cough syrup can do. As I left this place I understood why some people say cough syrup is killing a generation. My worst nightmare is to imagine my brother in a place like this. Further south in Ilorin, our investigation took a new turn when we set our sights on Bioraj – the company whose boxes of Biolin syrup were stacked in the NDLEA’s store in Kano. Sources had told us the factory was leaking huge amounts of syrup. Adejuwon placed a call to a Bioraj sales representative and told him we wanted to buy cough syrup without papers. He immediately set up a meeting. So, on Sunday morning I went to the factory as agreed and it turned out that I was not only meeting the Sales Rep. He had also set up a meeting with the Store Manager of Bioraj. Adejuwon met the Sales Representative, Al Monsuru, first. He came out of the factory and greeted him in front of the gates. How are you my brother? How is everything?
I hope you are well? How’s work? What was so crazy about the Bioraj filming was we were invited into the premises of the company to buy, purchase and take away cough syrup. – Oh, the Store Manager. We didn’t have to sneak into this company, we were literally welcomed into the company to come and buy cough syrup without papers. If you want a hundred cartons, we can give it. You can get it.
You get it. Do you know what we’re saying? Biolin with codeine. Ah! This is factory now. This is factory, it’s not… This is not a store. This is the factory. You understand? Even if you need 500 cartons, we can do it. We can get it now. I thought I was going to impress them by saying well I wanted to buy like 5 cartons to start, test the market. So, when I said 5 cartons, the Store Manager looked at me and smiled. And said well that he could understand that I wanted to start small. Because otherwise if I wanted a 1,000 cartons of Biolin they could give it to me If you need, you call me now, within three days we will produce it for you. If you need large quantities, for instance now in Igbo land, they usually buy up to 1000 cartons. Are you joking? In the East? I’m telling you the facts. That literally blew me off my feet. So, one individual each takes a shipment, a delivery of – how many bottles is that? About 60,000 bottles of cough syrup with codeine off Bioraj factory! In one deal. Just one single deal. And you know what, they also told me that these individuals exhaust this product in about a month. And they are back for another delivery. Since you’re selling in retail, you can buy in instalments of 20, 10, 20, 10, etc. Because if you buy a big quantity, like hundred cartons, where will you put it? It’s not something you can hoard in the house. Especially codeine, there’s too much attention on it. They’ve abused it too much. So they get disturbed a lot. But this our area doesn’t have any problems. It’s worse in the North. How is it the pharmaceutical companies
can have individuals in there that let out this huge amount of cough syrup
straight into the black market it’s it’s It’s quite hard to be able to understand how
this leaves the companies and no one is vetting no one is checking=. And then it was time for us to pay for the syrup. Forty-three right? 43,200 Naira. This that you want to do now, where there are lots of school kids, as soon as they get a taste for it, they’ll keep pestering you for more. o much so that you won’t let it finish before you buy new ones. So do you issue like an invoice or a receipt? We don’t do a receipt, unless you want to buy other products. If you want to buy other products, this is the receipt, we can write it. But for codeine – no. Even if someone wants to buy 1000 cartons, we won’t give them a receipt. How many people are talking about it?
What is government doing? Has anybody been convicted? I mean these drugs are not coming from the moon. They’re not coming from under the sea. They are manufactured somewhere, they are transported from one place to the other. Are we saying we don’t want to know? Come on. They brought out a carton of 60 bottles of syrup for us, and took off the label to cover their crime. Take the label off. Take off the label. Mr Ibeji, thank you very much. Nice to meet you. In a Bioraj statement both Baba Ibeji and Mr Al Monsuru deny selling Biolin illegally. The company told us Mr Al Monsuru actually left them in 2016. Bioraj chairman, Bioku Rahamon, said the company only sells codeine cough syrup legitimately and he personally guards sales of Biolin. So they make this much money, selling addictive cough syrup with codeine to people. And you know the irony of it? Their motto says your health is our concern. Really rather very sadly ironic. Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has publically expressed his concern over my country’s cough syrup epidemic. A special government committee was set up last October to address it. But why has nobody asked the hard questions – are companies that make cough syrup responsible for our codeine addicts? And are government regulators monitoring these companies properly? What are they monitoring, what are they following? I don’t know there’s just too many unanswered questions, why people don’t do their own jobs. There’s just too many unanswered questions It’s so sad, every time I talk about it I really get angry, like I really get angry on the verge of crying. We destroyed all the Biolin we bought –
every drop of it went down the drain. It’s so thick. Ah, this is disgusting … I think we’ve done the job we are supposed to do as journalists. If one person can be saved from getting deeper into a habit or starting a codeine habit, yeah, then our job is done. Yeah. you

100 thoughts on “Sweet sweet codeine: Nigeria’s cough syrup crisis – BBC Africa Eye documentary

  1. Please make sure you have subtitles/CC turned on in the video settings, they will provide translations or clarity where needed. Thanks for watching!

  2. i do not get it, this can not be the same stuff i was prescribed when i was 17 after a total reconstruction surgery of my knee? that stuff didnt take away any pain nor did it make me feel like i was drugged…. i know for a fact it was codeine.. i even took way more than i should have because the pain was so bad … nope can't be the same stuff… but i did know a women and her man who bought over the counter cough syrup EVERYDAY and drank the whole bottle.. i am sure they would like to get a hold of this stuff

    seriously, does this county have methadone? would that help those addicted to this? i am sure it is the withdrawals that make them keep doing it…

  3. you are pouring the evidence down the drain.. a corrupt attorney could argue that it was fake… but that aside… why didnt the police arrest them?

  4. the people in the government are getting paid off by the pharmaceutical companies , they are paying off everyone, so no one will do anything about it..

  5. God bless her real good. But this is too risky to her life. I will rather she did not show her face. Men are beasts by nature.

  6. There is codeine addiction epidemic here in the uk right now!

    Start an Narcotic Anonymous Group it works against addiction!

  7. Im so glad that somebody finally did an expose on this silent killer "codeine"…ive seen first hand how it alters some1 for the worst,Breaks up relationships and homez.."Bless urla hearts for reporting on this..url
    are very Brave souls"…

  8. Why are people filming themselves getting high? And do they have codeine burning ceremonies? Addicts aren't particularly concerned with health risks.

  9. Seen it all on here, Glue sniffing, Jet fuel sniffing, Hooch that can blind you and now this, damn, c'mon people get productive, clean your communities up, corruption is at the highest levels, the people are the power do not forget that, but with power comes corruption, i hope Africa can be cleaned up as it's people for the majority are decent honest folk.

  10. Ooh my Africa where did we go wrong, may the Almighty God remove this wrath from us.
    We killing our selves😥😥😥

  11. Its sad what is happening, i would also love to see you doing a documentary here in south Africa exposing Nigerians who are selling drugs to our brothers and sisters. Please

  12. This is the real problem of Africa…Nigerian Government WAKE your ass up and do something and that Company pay TAX…The youths are the feature Leader tomorrow

  13. Its a drug created for sell it with no problem everywhere, even if is forbidden. Its designed for go insane and kill poor people.
    (Very good music!)

  14. The consume and drugs abuse is a fact. Are a lot of natural "not too bad drugs" free that any one can take to get off their pain of their bodies and souls. Not more hypocresy. People need drugs because the situation is too hard and are a lot of peoblems, abd drugs feed this cercle. The soultion is not the drug, obsviously, but plants can help with education and programs for illness people addicted, liver problems, anxiety, etc. But pharmaceutycall and goverment never will let you do it. The best tool is information. Are better natural alternatives. This syrup is a death sentence for the nation.

  15. there 3 different Madnesses
    1. Mud
    2.Mad
    3.m-marvelous
    a-awesome
    d-delightful

    u u there u are the last madness l mentioned

  16. having people in withdrawal chained up in inhumane she says "this is what syrup does" but really this is what happens with inhumane treatment.

  17. its now happening in india large number of peoples in madhya pradesh using codeine syrup as primary way to get high! 😒 punjab is suffering too! even villages also infected by this highly addictive drug! 🙁

  18. Ruona Meyer and Adejuwon Soyinka you are exemplary in your work. In a word of fake news thank you for bringing this catastrophic codine addiction to us via BBC news one of my favorite source of information … I keep you both in my prayers for long lives

  19. There's a evil spirit of drug taking people & bringing them under bondage, only God can save this nation. Jesus Christ sets free, he's the only way out of this mess

  20. When South Africans are complaining about Nigerians they say is xenophobia, which is not true, Nigerians will kill you for the sake of money, irrespective what the law says.

  21. Negotiations are made between two parties. You have the land and they have a plan. Missionary are the first point of contact.

  22. Don't dump it..you should fighting and get your money back.. because you make them profitable for this drugs ..why the GOVERNMENT don't do nothing about it??? Because they are all getting paid
    .

  23. What's even worse is the state of the healthcare facilities.
    Over the past 60 years , Billions upon billions has been earmarked for services and yet there's neither care services nor money that can been honestly accounted for…..
    Indifference and corruption has turned us into our own worst enemies.
    Nigeria 🇳🇬 my beloved country where art thou?? Where art thou???

  24. https://www.yabaleftonline.net/2019/10/07/sex-for-grades-bbc-documentary-exposes-unilag-lecturer-pastor/

    Thank you, BBC Africa for considering my last comment recommendations. This is a positive step to addressing the issue

  25. I thought Emzor and Peace factories were bad, but Bioraj topped it off. "Your health is our concern" indeed 😭😭

  26. We are living in a Devil's world "A man having sex with a woman while other two men are watching" I almost got a heart attack

  27. Zimbabwe is suffering from a similar problem please expose these pharmaceutical companies that are profiteering from addiction and destruction of lives. To make matters worse crystal meth has invaded the city

  28. It's not new to the u s. They have been doing it here for the longest. But not as much anymore. Other drugs have taken over.

  29. This is how Dangote and others rich men(the government it's self) make their money so I don't think it will be easy to stop this in Nigeria 😭😭

  30. Her foundation lmao. Anyways she's brilliant and I love this documentary. But it is possible to present your kick ass research with good makeup. Just saying.

    And yes, I am vain😂😂

  31. One You got to understand is that Europeans put the stuff here to destroy us first started in the black communities in America in the 1980s then they put it in the Caribbean in the 1990s they than put in Africa in the early 2000’s The war on drugs was a war on black people

  32. I am from the UK, Nigeria was part of the Old British Empire and we owe them a lot, many Nigerians fought with my Grandfather in the Burma campaign in WW2. I have worked in Nigeria a lot in may own work as a Captain on Construction vessels so I hope I speak with at least some little experience, this is one very brave lady just like her Father.

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