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Must Watch! BBC Africa launches Investigative Arm ‘Africa Eye’ with an In-depth Look at Codeine Addiction in Nigeria



BBC Africa has launched ‘Africa Eye’, a new documentary strand with the first episode showing an in-depth investigation into the plague of addiction to cough mixture across Nigeria.

The new strand will deliver up to 20 original and high-impact investigations from across Africa every year.

According to Nisha Kapur, Commissioning Editor for TV:

Africa Eye will promote the culture of investigative journalism across Africa and strengthen the skills of African investigative journalists. All of the programmes will be based on in-depth reporting that holds power to account. They will tackle topics that are of intense interest and concern to audiences in Africa. These reports will be produced in a fresh and contemporary style that resonates with young audiences.

The first episode, a co-production between Africa Eye and BBC Pidgin, will look at the cough syrup industry and how Codeine is causing a plague of addiction across Nigeria  – hooking millions of young people.

In an exclusive undercover investigation, Africa Eye, will reveal senior figures in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry who are moving their legally produced products via the back door of their factories and into the hands of drug dealers who sell the dangerously addictive, sweet tasting opioid for the price of a bottle of cola.

With access to Nigeria’s crack anti-drug squads, BBC Pidgin journalist Ruona Meyer, whose brother has struggled with cough syrup addiction, is on a journey to unravel the secrets of the syrup plague….and to expose the criminals behind it.

Codeine cough syrup can now be bought in the heaving nightclubs of Lagos and on the ancient backstreets of Kano. Three million bottles are drunk every day in Nigeria’s north alone, according to a recent Nigerian government report.

Adejuwon Soyinka, Editor of the BBC Pidgin who went undercover said, “it’s shocking what we found and how much of an epidemic cough syrup abuse has become in Nigeria. Equally shocking is the sheer size of criminal network involved in the illicit trade.”

Watch the teaser for the episode below.

For more information please contact BBC World Service Group Communications


  1. Rukky

    April 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Sad and terrible!!!

  2. zzzzzzzzzzz

    April 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    I believe Cough Syrup with Codeine was added to the list of controlled drugs recently. These are drugs that cannot be purchased on the counter. I t must be with a doctors prescription. I think the authorities should go after the dealers.

  3. Deleke

    May 1, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    This was popular back in my college days, called Purple drank or Sizzurp

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