African nation Niger loves some weed, it is ranked the among the world’s highest consumer of cannabis. But this week, marijuana loving Niger had a coup d’etat and it may be good news for their president, citizens, Africa, or the world. Soldiers stormed the capital and members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum inside his palace in the capital Niamey.
Niger, officially Republic of Niger, French République du Niger, is a western African landlocked country. It is bounded on the northwest by Algeria, on the northeast by Libya, on the east by Chad, on the south by Nigeria and Benin, and on the west by Burkina Faso and Mali. In 1960, Niger left the French Community, which started with it being a colony, and acquired full independence. It is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Cannabis really entered Niger in the 20th century. During the early 1970s soldiers consumed it in order to suppress timidity. Afterwards, it became popular among youths between 1980s. and 1990s. It is illegal and if they decide to catch you, it is punishable by a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison.
For both Paris and Washington, Niger is a strategic country in the fight against Islamist terrorism. Viewed as “one of the most reliable U.S. allies” against al Qaeda, Islamic State and Boko Haram, it’s also one of the last Sahel nations that hasn’t deepened cooperation with Russia to the West’s detriment. The EU, US and UK have said they stand behind President Mohamed Bazoum and are working toward a solution.
The Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary outfit led by Yevgeny Prigozhin (which almost started a coup in Russia a few weeks ago) is active in Africa, claimed credit for the coup.“What happened is the struggle of the people of Niger against the colonialists,” Prigozhin said in a voice message posted in a Wagner-branded Telegram channel. “This is actually gaining independence and getting rid of the colonialists.”
Regionally, they love marijuana so much they have their own nicknames for it including kaya, wee-wee, igbo, oja, gbana, blau, kpoli and abana. In a video communique, a man identified as Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane for the rebels and flanked by several apparent soldiers, announced, “We have decided to put an end to the regime that you know.” We hope that does not mean citizens will lose access to oja, especially medical marijuana.