Saturday, October 14, 2017 1:39 pm
Davido’s police case puts the problem of hard drugs among Nigerians youths in bold relief. There is fire on the mountain and parents, religious and non-governmental organisations need not sleep
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
David Adedeji Adeleke (Davido for style), a Nigerian recording artiste, performer and record producer, needs no introduction in many homes. His father, Deji Adeleke (younger brother to the late politician, Senator Isiaka Adeleke), was the chairman of Pacific Holdings and now a co founder of Unity Bank. As an artiste, Davido’s 2011 single, “Dami Duro” was a smash hit in Nigeria. Among his other hits are: Omo Baba Olowo, “Dami Duro”, “All of You”, “Overseas”, “Ekuro”, “Gbon Gbon”, “Feel Alright”, “Gobe”, “One of a Kind”, “Skelewu”, “Aye”, “Tchelete (Goodlife)”.
The only trouble is that Davido’s brushes with security authorities have always given him notoriety! He, in May 2014, allegedly attacked the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) after missing his flight to London, accusing them of pestering him for money. However, NIS denied the charge, saying that Immigration did not issue him an exit permit because Davido “didn’t have the proper travel documents with him at the time.” In 2015, Davido and his baby’s mother, Sophia Momodu, engaged in a conflict over who should have custody of their daughter, Imade Adeleke. Trouble began after Sophie and her family wrote a petition against the artiste to the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, accusing him of child trafficking. In other words, Davido and his family were accused of “keeping Imade away from her mother, as well as trying to flee Nigeria with the baby.” Although Davido denied the allegations, he tendered apologies to the man who challenged him- Ovation publisher, Dele Momodu, the cousin of Sophia Momodu.
Now, Davido is in the news again over the deaths of three of his friends on two separate occasions (3 and 7 October): Tagbo Umeike, Olugbemiga Abiodun and Chime Amechina.
On 3 October, Davido’s name cropped up with the death of his friend, Tagbo Umeike. This was revealed by actress Caroline Danjuma who alleged that Tagbo was with Davido at the time of his death at about 3 am but Davido, apart from not contacting anyone and hiding the circumstances around his friend’s death, dumped his corpse in a hospital. However, Davido waved this off as a tissue of lies. Preliminary autopsy report revealed that the man died from consuming too much alcohol. She added: “Davido had earlier that night placed a bet of N200,000 for whoever consumed the most alcohol and Tagbo had consequently consumed about 50 shots of Tequila in an attempt to win the bet.”
This week, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, told pressmen that preliminary investigation showed that late Umeike was rushed to the hospital on Davido’s instruction. Edgal explained further that at about 9.20a.m. on October 3, the Chief Security Officer of Lagos Island General Hospital alerted the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Lion Building that an unidentified male was brought in dead in an ash-coloured Toyota Camry car with number plates LSD 738 EL.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/t67XNg6u-Rc
“The victim was alleged to have been brought in by two unidentified males. The DPO rushed to the scene and identified the victim as Tagbo Umeike, from the international passport found in the car. Shortly after, one Caroline Danjuma, an actress and the victim’s fiancée, published on her Instagram page that her boyfriend died in the company of some friends, among whom was Davido. I called for a meeting with family of the deceased, Davido’s family, Davido, Caroline Danjuma, including the DPO, Lion building, and the investigative team. The meeting established that the deceased, Tagbo Umeike, met and had drinks with friends among who was Davido, at Shisha Bar.”
The bar attendant, according to the CP, confirmed that he (deceased) had 40 shots of Tequila and exhibited clear signs of drunkenness, adding, “The CCTV footage, which I called for, showed that the deceased was quarrelsome and violent in that meeting. Davido confirmed that he left Shisha Bar without the deceased to DNA Night Club and that he was only informed of the victim’s death at the club. However, investigation revealed that Davido’s white Toyota Hilux escort driver, Tunde Usutu, accompanied by one Agbeje Olaoye and one Idris Busari, both Davido’s friends, took the deceased to the General Hospital and abandoned him in his vehicle on the instruction of Davido. The CCTV footage at the hospital picked the escort vehicle and the entire activity. The vehicle was recovered from Davido’s residence at 7, Awoshika Street, Lekki Phase 1. This completely debunks Davido’s claim that he did not know how the deceased got to the General Hospital. The interim autopsy report stated that the victim died of asphyxia, which means suffocation. At the end of this fresh round of investigation, I will tell Lagosians our findings.”
On the death of two other friends of Davido, Olugbemiga Abiodun of Flat Bill, Ocean Parade, Banana Island, Ikoyi and Chime Amechina, the Police boss revealed that it was reported by the Chief Security Officer of Banana Island Ocean Parade, Ikoyi, on 7 October , to the Divisional Police Officer. The two were found dead inside one white-coloured BMW Saloon car with number plates KJA 631 AY, at an underground garage in the estate. In the words of Edgar,”Police operatives raced to the scene, where the bodies of the victims were taken to LASUTH, Ikeja, for joint medical examination by the Police and doctors to identify any possible mark of violence and autopsy.”
What Davido is going through with the Police authorities puts in bold relief what hard drugs are causing among Nigerian youths, especially among children of the high heeled who have much to spare and those promoting pop culture. That is why the Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM) National Chairman, Dr. Dokun Adedeji raised an alarm about youths taking mind bending substances, causing such crimes as kidnapping, killings and others.
Why the vice is difficult to monitor now is that parents only know of common addictions of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and cigarette. That the older generation does not know the hard drinks recently crept into a recent social media debate.
Richard Akinnola who is in his 60s asked a question in Pidgin English about it on his FB timeline and it elicited the following responses: Abeg, na which drink dem dey call Taquila wey Davido’s late friend drink? Just dey hear am. (Pray, which drink is called Taquila? I am just hearing of it). Chuba Keshi responded humorously, Bros Richard Akinnola, you be old school-o. Na d latest whiskey in town (Mr Akinnola, you are old fashioned, it is the latest whiskey in town).
Like Tequila which Davido’s friend drank, some innocuous looking but more deadly ones have actually crept into the Nigerian society. In the words of Dokun Adedeji: “Majority of our youths now use tramadol, codeine, rohypnol, skunk, and certain substances which are somewhat difficult for the average parent to categorise as drugs. Most of our prescription drugs are now easy for youths and other persons involved in the trade to purchase.”
Now, see more of the unusual here! Dr. Adedeji went further: “But what is more worrisome now is that our youths have moved from the bizarre to the ridiculous. You find some of our youths packing dirts from the gutter and sniffing it, believing it would make them ‘high’. Some will wake up in the morning, go to latrines and put their noses down to sniff the smell from it until they feel they are ‘high’ on it. You know what the gum shoe-makers use, some of our youths now take them. Others inhale methylated spirits, nail polish remover, among others.”
“Imaging a child sniffing methylated spirit in the house, it will be difficult for the parents to know their child is on drugs. I know of a mother who was observant enough to know that her methylated spirit always disappeared anytime she buys. She had to monitor her son until she discovered he was the one taking it. So parents need to be very observant, otherwise children under our very nose will be on drugs, yet we won’t know.
“Have you heard about ‘gegemu’? It’s a plant planted at home to drive away snakes. But do you know in one of the schools we went to, some of the guys told us they pluck the leaves and cook them, then drink the water. They also dry the leaf, grind and sniff it. In the North there is something called “zakani”. It is a seed they grind and sniff. There is a category of youths that kill scorpion, dry it, grind and then sniff it. We are saying these so that parents and the society can know what to look out for,” he added.
What Parents, Guardians, Organisations Need to Do
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on on 3 October 2017 urged parents, guardians and caregivers to watch out for drug addiction signs in their children and wards, saying the negative impact of drug abuse is not only harmful to the victims but can threaten the peace of the society. He gave the advice in Araga-Epe while commissioning the Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry (CADAM) Rehabilitation Centre of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Governor Ambode said it was important for parents to be vigilant as victims of drug addiction can be easily lured into crime which would ultimately threaten peace and development.
He said: “As we support this rehabilitation centre, let me use this opportunity to implore parents, guardians and care givers to be vigilant in order to detect early signs of drug addiction in their children and seek help from appropriate quarters before it gets complicated. On our part as a government, we shall continue to take preventive measures through public awareness campaign especially among our youths so that they are adequately informed on the danger inherent in drug abuse.”
While appreciating the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and his wife, Folu Adeboye for dedicating efforts and resources to treat and rehabilitate people who have gotten addicted to one form of drug abuse or the other through the centre, the Governor said it was inspiring and instructive that the duo and others behind the initiative thought it necessary to use the platform of the church to join in the fight against the social menace.
“CADAM has, on its own, picked up, treated and rehabilitated many people who have been addicted to drugs and given them a new life. CADAM, with their own resources, clothes, feed and shelters these affected citizens and gives them a chance to live again,” he said.
CADAM is an initiative of Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and his wife, Folu. It was founded in 1991 by Pastor Ezekiel Odeyemi, who coincidentally is a Special Assistant to the General Overseer of RCCG. It started as a department in the Church to, as Folu explained this month, visit homes of addiction victims and hospitals to pray and minister to their physical needs, but that the name was changed in 1996 specifically to permit a “wider psycho-social dimension as well as to remove stigma associated with addiction, stigma directed at the addicts and their families.” As contained in a story earlier published by TheNEWS, she said since inception, the centre had assisted more than 2000 beneficiaries, most of whom have become professionals and well-to-do persons in the society. She also said that over N200million have been spent so far to put up the facilities, saying that the centre would “soon commence full implementation of educational and skill acquisition programmes.”
At the level of parents, Adedeji advised that when you notice your child is drinking a particular soft drink for long, there is need to monitor him or her to know if there is an external substance in such drink. “Imaging a child sniffing methylated spirit in the house, it will be difficult for the parents to know their child is on drugs. I know of a mother who was observant enough to know that her methylated spirit always disappeared anytime she buys. She had to monitor her son until she discovered he was the one taking it. So parents need to be very observant, otherwise children under our very nose will be on drugs, yet we won’t know. We all used to believe that drugs abuse and addiction existed in the realms of thugs, street urchins and the vicinity of motor parks. But today, many parents will be shocked by the variety of substances used by our children even within the home!”
Why Drug Thrives In Nigeria
In a report they published last year in Tribune, entitled, Revealed! New Lagos Drug Routes,
Shola Adekola and Tola Adenubi wrote: “Lagos seaports and airports have been targets of drug traffickers in recent years. Despite the continued arrests of suspected drug traffickers in these airports and seaports, it has been gathered that this criminal trade is still being propelled by the economic principle of demand and supply. With the high demand for drugs and the large amount of money being made, drug barons and traffickers are ready to increase the risk level.”
In Lagos, they wrote that drug peddlers have consistently taken advantage of the Seme axis of the nation’s border post. They added further: “From Badagry, drug peddlers and smugglers bring in drugs from routes like the Tolgegi Island. With the increased surveillance of eagle-eyed Customs operatives on the land borders, which has resulted in the arrest and seizure of various amounts of drugs along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, drug peddlers have shifted focus to this island, which allows them to access Lagos by canoe and barges. Tolgegi Island is located just beside the Nigerian/Benin Republic border and is under the control of Badagry Local Government Area. However, because it is an island, drug peddlers bring drugs into Lagos without having to make use of the road. Drugs are loaded in water crafts under the cover of darkness and brought into the country through many unmonitored jetties.”
The peddlers, according to the writers, use unsecured jetties like the Oto jetty, located in the sleepy village of Oto-Awori, near Ijanikin town. The Oto jetty, according to them, “affords drug peddlers the luxury of cutting off many Customs and military checkpoints located along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway at least up to Agbara town. Oto jetty is just after Agbara and can be accessed from islands like Tolgegi under the cover of darkness.”
The writers added that factors like poverty, unemployment, peer influence, ignorance and disregard for consequences of drugs on humans have been advanced as some of the factors responsible for drug trafficking. “There is also a decline in societal values as people are becoming more materialistic to the detriment of uprightness. Stakeholders have repeatedly urged agents of socialisation like family, schools, religious bodies and civil society groups to redouble their efforts towards building a healthy and safe society.”