December 3, 2022

A MUST  READ 

The reporter had to be introduced as an NGO worker helping children and women to get her to agree to a meeting. Even then, she extracted a promise that she would be given “something” before she settled down for a chat.

She looked cheerful but shy and carried her lean frame gingerly as if afraid she might fall down any minute. Her cheeks were slightly sunken, making her cheekbones prominent. She clutched a fairly weathered handbag. Her open neck Ankara blouse revealed sharp shoulder blades, a sign that she was not feeding well…
“Actually I take drugs. In fact I’m addicted to drugs,” she said without much prodding. “I just took some before leaving the house now. I cannot eat food nor do anything without taking the drugs.”
Fatima Hassan, a 2010 graduate of the Kaduna Polytechnic, who still lives with her mother, was introduced to drugs when she went for her National Youth Service Corp in Minna, Niger State, when she started dating the son of a wealthy man…
“My boyfriend had many friends and all of them were taking drugs like cocaine, wee-wee, syrup and some tablets, and he made me to join them.”
She joined the girls in taking bottles of cough mixtures with codeine contents. The ones without codeine do not excite the brain, so they are not useful.

The boys would take hard drugs like cocaine, heroin or wee-wee and get syrup for the girls. There are varieties of them, including CSP, Stopcof, C&C, Cofflin, Totalin, Ezolyn, and the prices ranges from N250 per bottle to N1000 per bottle…
After her NYSC, Fatima came back to Kaduna and started looking for where to get the codeine syrup. Soon, she met other girls who have become addicted like her, and began buying for herself…
According to her, in the last five years, she has met more than 200 girls and women who take codeine in Kaduna…
She said there are ‘countless’ numbers of women, including married and ordinarily responsible women, in Kaduna who are codeine addicts….
Fatima grew to taking up to eight bottles of codeine in a day and it still will not get her ‘high’ enough. Then she learnt how to boost the syrup with prescription tablets like Tramadol, Rohypnol and D5…
Whenever she takes the combination, which has been daily since her NYSC ended six years ago, it gives her an uncommon feeling, she said. “Wow, I feel cool, I feel like Don Jazzy; I feel like the President and I feel like I own the world. I feel like there is nobody above me,” she told the reporter as her face brightened with a smile…
The habit has come with a lot of negative effects for her. Whenever she cannot find anyone to buy drugs for her, she sells some of her jewellery, and even handsets. She sold a plot of land she inherited from her late father and expended it on codeine.

“When I feel like, I will go and lodge at a hotel with my girlfriends and take drugs the way we like,” she said.

She once owed a codeine supplier N25, 000 for accumulated supply…
The habit has affected her relationship with men and she finds it difficult keeping steady relationships.” I cannot stay with a guy who does not use drug or who cannot buy for me. We cannot be compatible,” she declared…
She agreed to link the reporter with one of the girls in her codeine-afflicted group who lives with her parent inside Tudunwada, Kaduna. She called the girl on one of her two phones to explain ‘the deal.’ The girl agreed after Fatima promised to come along with ‘kaya,’ slang for codeine syrup and complimentary tablets…
On our way to the girl’s house, she asked that we pass by the Kaduna Central Market. Along the road and a young Hausa boy came to deliver the drugs to her. She gave the boy N2,000 for two bottles of codeine and a sachet of Rohypnol…
….. To be Cont

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