The Zombie apocalypse
As Nigerians living in South Africa, most are branded as drug dealers and sadly, some consistently continue to confirm the stereotype by perpetuating heinous crimes. The recent arrest of a 32 year-old alleged Nigerian Flakka dealer whose name was given as Chikudipia Steven Nwose (*most probably Chukudi(fu) Steven Nwosu) is yet another one too many embarrassment to all Nigerians and a wake up call for a need for dialogue among members of the Nigerian community in South Africa.
The young man was reportedly arrested by undercover agents in Chatsworth, Durban. He was trading in Flakka, also known as Zombie; a synthetic hard drug several times more lethal than heroine and cocaine. This is the first reported case of Flakka in South Africa. According to reports from Timeslive.co.za, “members of the Metro Police Rapid Response Unit confirmed that doctors found battery acid, gunpowder, chlorine, a date rape drug, strong pain medication, cocaine and bath salts, which is not the regular bathing salts but a drug which is chemically similar to stimulant chemicals like cocaine or amphetamines” as composition elements of Flakka.
We have a number of very young and relatively old Nigerian men trading in illicit drugs with impunity in South Africa. Kempton park, Long Street is an example of a free-for-all open drug market. In full glare of the public, our countrymen sell drugs shamelessly. Ironically, many of them are homeless, sick, hungry, and a growing number are also mentally disabled from drug abuse. It is a disgusting sight to behold.
Some may be in shocking denial of the evidence of Nigerian criminal gangs in South Africa but a standing fact remains that we have a serious drug trade problem amongst Nigerians. However, instead of contesting facts about perpetuated crimes, it will be more beneficial to strengthen existing programs of Nigerian organisations in South Africa and or create more aggressive campaigns that will expose both the ills and empower the people.
The media and our duty
The media may have been complicit in a number of negative media campaigns against Nigerians. In my opinion, i believe it is our responsibility as a community to expose the perceived lies of the media. It is our duty to make sure we tell the untold story. We need to challenge the status quo by bringing new facts to the table. Umbrella bodies of Nigerians in South Africa and the Nigerian Embassy must take interest in published stories; investigate, meet with alleged Nigerian perpetrators to squeeze the truth out and let the world know where and how the local media misrepresent us.
Change of perspective
Asides public enlightenment and rehabilitation, I have no other solution in sight for curbing these menace. My humble plead to the Nigerian community is to start viewing these issue of illegal drug trade by Nigerians as a crisis; a grave problem to our host community and a stain to our national identity. A change of perspective may birth the desired solution. There is a need for intellectual dialogue among Nigerians to profer solution. Yes, Nigerians are not the only foreign nationalities dealing in drugs in South Africa but Nigerians can definitely choose not to be part of any criminal activity.