Inside MKO Abiola’s abandoned multimillion naira property-turned drug den where teenagers serve hard drugs

Inside MKO Abiola’s abandoned multimillion naira property-turned drug den where teenagers serve hard drugs

When Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of Nigeria’s 1993 presidential election, purchased about five acres of land in the Sabo area of Abeokuta during the late 1970s to build one of the country’s best hotels, he couldn’t have foreseen that the location would eventually transform into a haven for drug users.

Fast forward to today, Mayas Hotel, once an ambitious venture, has turned into a drug den where cannabis and various hard drugs are openly traded and consumed without fear of police intervention, despite its proximity to Sabo and Lafenwa police stations.

In an undercover investigation, a reporter from DAILY POST explored the drug den to uncover how the drug trade operates unchecked.

Mayas, a notorious spot in Abeokuta, gained its reputation for selling hard drugs in the late ’70s and early ’80s. However, in the late ’90s, drug users took control of the premises. Much of the land has been repurposed into a sawmill, with sheds erected in nearly every corner.

An abandoned roofless one-storey building, formerly Mayas Hotel, sits within the property, while another abandoned bungalow has become a refuge for numerous ‘homeless’ drug users.

Despite a police raid in 2021 that recovered N2,722,750 and several millions worth of hard drugs, the drug dealers continue to operate, seemingly undeterred.

The drug market’s close proximity to the popular abattoir in the area, known as “Odo-Eran,” suggests a mere three-minute walk between them. This proximity allows activities in the drug market and the abattoir to be visible to each other.

During a seven-day investigation, the reporter observed that the drug market had strategic sheds owned by different drug lords, and benches were available for smokers. Women on the other side of the market sold food and drinks, creating a complete environment for market-goers.

Despite the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act empowering officers to enter and search such premises, and the severe penalties for drug-related offenses, the drug dealers appear to operate with impunity, even with a police station located just over a kilometer away.

In interviews with drug users, it became clear that many started at a young age, and the drug den serves as a hub for the sale and consumption of various hard drugs.

The state Commandant of the NDLEA acknowledged the drug issue in the region but emphasized the need for comprehensive surveys to accurately assess the situation.

Residents of the Sabo area appealed to the government and security agencies for assistance, expressing concern about the impact on the community’s peace and safety. The Abiola family, who owns the property, mentioned plans to convert it into a university while asserting their commitment to collaborating with law enforcement to address the drug issue.

Despite global efforts to address drug abuse, the situation persists, with vulnerable groups disproportionately affected. Drug hideouts continue to grow, intertwined with rising poverty and homelessness rates in Nigeria. Health experts warn of the mental and physical consequences of drug abuse, emphasizing the need for comprehensive measures to tackle the root causes of the issue.


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