By Bisi Olominu
An okada rider applied the break and his passenger, a young man in his 20s, called out a woman in her kiosk. She emerged with three small bottles of bitters, an alcoholic beverage, and handled them over to her customers. The cyclist took one at a gulp and the passenger took the two, opened them and emptied the contents in a quick gulps. Discarding the empty contents, he nudged the rider to take him to a brothel nearby.
Tunde Ajibade and his three colleagues sat on a balcony in their house awaiting their girlfriends. They were playing with small plastics of liquids in their hands. Seeing their targets afar, they all gulped the contents in quick succession. The bottles contained ”Viagra drinks”, aphrodisiac qualities which they believed would enhance their sexual prowess.
One of them exploded, ”I feel high and all time I take this drink, I like having sex after consuming ”Koboko’. It gives me real satisfaction in bed”.
Moruf Adeyemi, 29, a mechanic in Obalende, Lagos State, is unperturbed about the risks associated with taking herbal mixture. He is convinced that they aid his performance in bed.
I don’t believe the consumption of these enhancing drinks have any side effects. My wife commends my performance in bed when I take them and that gives her joy”.
According to the okada rider, I have been speaking under an ”Opaehin” for over seven years. The product can cure pile and also enhance sex performance.
”When I take ”Opaehin” and I mount my girl, I can go rounds of 4 or 5 at a go”.
Nigerian market currently is flooded with many bitters and they enjoy huge patronage from the young and old in the society, even some girls are now enjoying the products.
Some of the bitters come in assorted and bizarre names meant to tantalise customers are found in joints and motor parks where they are in huge demand by prospective buyers.
A visit by the reporter to various junctions in Akure, the capital of Ondo State revealed that the bitters are sold in junctions, bus stops, motor parks, the sales and consumption are high.
Locally made alcoholic bitters or herbal mixtures have become the order of the day. At various junctions you see various heads surrounding the women selling bitters, their consumption cut across all social strata.
Herbal mixtures cone in different packages, some are in bottles and sachets, which are prepared and dispensed immediately.
One consumer, Taiye told The Hope that he always take a mixture because it is cheap and ” Anytime I’m hungry and want to feel high, drinking it makes me better. I don’t take it for sex but many of my friends do whenever they want ‘to bang’ their girlfriends”.
A young man said the reason many take herbal mixtures was because of poverty in the land and unemployment. Another one said he drinks some amounts of medications to maintain his sexual prowess.
Just like him, many Nigerians now go the extra mile to give their masculinity a boost and keep their passion alive by taking aphrodisiacs, medications, food or drinks that stimulate sexual and desires.
As at today, young men take herbal mixtures to last longer in bed, most usually have quick ejaculation due to hyper excitability, and because they want to prolong the act of sex itself and delay ejaculation, they go for enhance drugs.
Herbal mixtures market is booming in Nigeria markets. They are everywhere on the streets, bus stops, roadsides, super markets and motor parks.
One may be inclined to believe that taking sexual enhancing drugs is a contributory factor to incident of rape in Nigeria currently.
Rape in Nigeria’s assuming a frightening and dangerous dimension, mostly during the coronavirus pandemic. The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu said that cases of sexual violence against women had been on the rise as a result of lockdown caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
He disclosed that 799 suspects had so far been arrested.
According to him, whereas 717 rape cases were reported in the last five months, 631 of them have been thoroughly investigated and charged to court, while the remaining 52 cases are still being investigated.
Adamu also said that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies as well as non-governmental organizations and civil society groups had been collaborating to jointly nip the matter in the bud, adding that the federal government has joined the fight with a view to putting the scourge under control.
” The Nigeria Police so far from January to May 2020, had recorded about 717 rape incidents that were reported across the country, about 799 suspects have been arrested, 631 cases conclusively investigated and charge to court and 52 cases under investigation.
Adamu described perpetrators of the crimes as wicked, pointing out that rapists engaged in the act for many reasons, including ritual purposes and mere urge for emotional satisfaction.
We recall that Miss Uwaila Omozuwa, a University of Benin undergraduate was brutally raped and murdered on May 27 inside a church in Benin City.
Also, Barakat Bello, 18years suffered similar fate in her house on July 1,2020 in Ibadan, Oyo State.
A 12 year old girl was gang raped by four men in Ajah Lagos, while eleven men were apprehended for raping another 12 year old girl in Jigawa State.
A girl selling pawpaw on the streets of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State was raped in the city. A serving youth Corper serving in Uyo, Cross Rivers state was gang raped by two men, while a man had carnal knowledge of her step daughter around March 2020 in Akwa Ibom and put her in a family way.
Just two days after two students were raped to death in Ibadan, the Oyo State Police Command confirmed another rape and death of a 21 year old girl in a church mission building. The victim was identified as Grace Oshiagwu.
In Benue State, a 27 year old man, Patrick Onoja was arrested for raping a seven year old girl inside a church building at Ngurute, Ogbadibo Local Governments area on June 9,2020.
In same state, a 22 year old man Igbadoo Ahoudu met one Kumasuun, a 14 year old girl in the farm and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her..
Similarly, in the state,on June 9, another 14 year old girl was left at home and when her mother came back from the market, one Tarzungwe Nyiter, 30 had raped her.
Not yet done with the state, one Denan Agenda forcefully took a 14 year old girl to an uncompleted building and raped her.
A young man raped 70 year old woman sleeping in her house in Ogun State.
Looking at all the cases, the astronomical numbers show that something is amiss in the society. Is it that women are short in the society or those committing rape are under the influence of herbal mixtures, drugs or aphrodisiac generally? What therefore is the nexus between rape and drugs?
Nexus between drugs and sex
The upsurge in rape cases in Nigeria are no longer cases of sex abuse of the girl child but an abuse of female gender irrespective of age. Women are no longer safe in the country, either daylight or at night. Often women are often blamed for dressing in-approptiately, openly inviting men that they are available, exposing their figures for men to see on the streets or playing easily into the hands of the rapers.
But the society has failed woefully to look intently into the state of mind and the mental health of the culprits before carrying his heinous act.
While it may not be out of place to look intently or critically on how our girls dress today to kill which always attract the opposite sex, it is vital to look at issues within the culprits that constitute threat to rape and other social vices in the society. Only an insane person under the control or influence of drugs can mount a 70 year old woman to have sex with her.
What could justify the action a 25-year- old man who raped an octogenarian grandmother in Niger State? Or how could a boy of 25 years who raped a woman of 70 years justify his action?
Speaking on this issue, the Founder/Executive Director of GISA, Dr. Martins Agwogie posited that there were always nexus between rape and drugs in the society.
He argued that indecent dressing sometimes does not lead to rape, but the mental health of the culprits.
Agwogie mentioned that a 25-year-old man who raped a 85-year-old grandmother in Niger State adduced it to being drunk. Same with a case of 24-year-old man who raped another 70-year-old grandmother in Ogun State purportedly under the influence of alcohol.
Another was the case of a man who slept with his two daughters for years under the influence of alcohol.
Dr. Agwogie affirmed that there was nexus between substance abuse, aggressive behavior and other vices, all of which have been on the increase in recent time in Nigeria.
He added that persons under the influence of psychoactive substance have perceptual distortion, emotional imbalance, issue with self discipline, in a state of confusion, paranoid and suffer irritability that could stir them to social vices.
He concluded that the brutal cases of rape are linked with drug abuse.
The Chief Medical Director, CMD, of Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Makurdi, Dr. Peteru Inuuduli in his reaction said, bitters contain strong spirits that work against human body system. He added that damage caused by such spirits is unimaginable.
”The damage caused by such spirits is unimaginable. Those who consume them daily are likely to die young. And when consumed beyond measure can do anything.”
Dr. Kasim Ojewale, while speaking from his base in Osogbo agreed that there is a strong connection between rape and drugs in Nigeria. According to him, for a man rape his own daughter frequently, that cannot be ordinarily, such must be under the influence of something. Likewise, a man who raped a grandmother, what enjoyment was left there if not that the person was under the influence of alcohol.
”The present rape cases are food for thought for us in Nigeria, it shows that there are dangers ahead if both the federal and state governments find no solution to it. Everywhere, the girl child and women are not safe in the street anymore, there is usually a shadow following them.
”What justification is for a girl child to be raped by somebody who should be her father and mentor if not under the influence of alcohol.? It is not insanity for a man who have a wife at home to rape a woman who is as old as his mother? Only a man with emotional imbalance, a paranoid man suffering from irritability can do such”.
From the street talks of users of bitters, you will know that there is a clear link between rape and drugs.
Jelili, an Okada rider said: ” You wan gbadun your babe, take ‘Baby Oku,’ you go wake up sharp sharp. Baby Oku is a perfect drink to boost your sexual intercourse and last longer in bed.
A barber named Sheriff said: ” For me , any bitters, especially Ruzu bitter is good when I want real action. Just take one shot at night and your madam will thank you in the morning”.
Effects and consequences of herbal mixtures
The effects and consequences of using herbal mixtures are glaring in the country now. From Tramadol to other aphrodisiacs being taking by youths in the country, the end results have been fatal. Those who killed and raped Uwaila Omozuwa inside the church without regard for God must have done such under the influence of drugs
Although one school of thought claimed that herbal mixtures can cure various diseases, but another school of thought posited that the ethanol and nicotine inside the bitters are enough to make users become paranoid, have emotional imbalance and make such persons to commit all sought of crimes in the society.
Speaking on the issue, a medical practitioner, Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye said men and boys who engage in drugs to boost their sex prowess are threading a dangerous path and could die suddenly.
Blaming the upsurge on the use of aphrodisiacs on societal expectations from men, he said the hunger to be ” real man” has led to huge problem in the land.
”Some men that have never exercise in their life take sex enhancing drugs and in most cases never know that danger lucks.
”Adding to this is the consumption of alcohol which also causes erectile dysfunction. What do you think will happen to a hypertensive man with high cholesterol level and weakened heart, wanting to go on several rounds of sex? Obviously anything could happen.
” The danger is that nobody knows the composition of such drugs or bitters. Some will use this local mixture alongside the orthodox drugs. The fact that he is desirable to have a satisfactory sex life doesn’t mean anybody should die. No one wins a trophy by being sexually active. Sex is not meant to be a marathon”.
”Those engaging in sex and killing their victims must have been paranoid and knowing that if caught they would be prosecuted, so to get safe, they have to eliminate the victims. They can’t do such killings without being drugged”.
A pharmacist, Tayo Eke said it is a sadden and disturbing trend.
“Some men in order to show their musculine strength and virility engage in marathon sex, sadly, in doing this, some forget that age is not on their side or that they have underlying health conditions to deal with. Sexual activity is not supposed to be long, but should be within three to five minutes. Going for long period of time under the influence of drugs can trigger sudden death.”
A man in Akure, Sunday Akomolafe added that the market is saturated with fake bitters and advised consumers to always drink those certified by NAFDAC.
He expressed dismay with the persistent self destructive habit of consuming the deadly ethanol filled drinks by locals.
” In spite of all the deaths associated with local gin Ogogoro, the warnings and the ban, some people don’t give up. I wish they could know the pains some of those herbal mixtures have caused some families, the sorrows, heartbreakes and everlasting scars”
A medical doctor based in Ogun State, Dr. Vincent Madukwe advised people to stay away from consuming bitters, saying they are alcohol based and could basically affect the body in the future.
” Bitters contain ethanol, they can lead to shortage of blood. Bitter brands can affect the bone marrow, this is where blood is produced and it can also affect skin pigmentation of the consumers because of mixture of gin with blood”.
But defending those consuming bitters, the Public Relations Officer, PRO, Ruzu Holistic Health Care Limited in Abuja, Mr. McDonald Azuju in a telephone interview with The Hope posited that Ruzu has many advantages as it could act as purifier, clean human’s blood and replace damages done to the body.
”Ruzu is a good product, it has no side effect and many are using the product everyday”.
A Gynaecologist, Dr. Lucky American from Ovon Community Health Centre, Yenagoa, Balyesa State was of the opinion that bitters have nutritional value and could also enhance fertility.
”Bitters are good for human’s body systems, but we must be very careful of what is being sold in the market these days. I know some bitters like Swedish and Yoyo, but with the influx of the unbranded ones nowadays, I must urge consumers to use those approved by NAFDAC.
A chemist under anonymity in Akure said bitters sell much in the market and they are common mostly with commoners doing hard job. He said that many of those taking bitters believe that bitters could make them strong.
A NAFDAC official in Akure who will not like to be mentioned said that many of the bitters were not registered with the body, stressing that several times raid had been ordered from Abuja to confiscate some of the products.
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