The BBC will host Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin debates this Thursday and you are invited

On July 5, the BBC World service will be hosting three debates at the University of Lagos (Afe Babalola Hall) which will be done in Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin. Each debate will feature high-profile Africans from the worlds of politics, civil society and culture, who will face a live audience with important questions.

Here’s an overview of the sessions:


Codeine abuse: Who is to blame for youth’s abuse of the drug?

Time: 10.30am


Oluwatosin Caleb Adeyemi, Editor-in-chief, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria

Dr. Musa Umar, Director, Narcotics and Controlled Substances, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC)

Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed, Head, Planning, Research and Statistics, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria

Dr. Raliat Akerele, President, Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital.

Thousands of young Nigerians are addicted to Codeine cough syrup in Nigeria. The federal legislative assembly considered the crisis an emergency to the extent it carried out an extensive investigation and initiated two anti-drug abuse bills.

But a recent BBC Pidgin and Africa Eye documentary Sweet Sweet Codeine successfully transposed the harrowing pandemic from the streets into living rooms across the nation. Two months after the documentary shook the nation, Global Questions offers the Pidgin Service the opportunity to take to task key stakeholders in the health sector asking relevant questions including:

Who should take primary responsibility for the spread of Codeine cough syrup?

What efforts (if any) have been put in place to curtail the prevalence of Codeine cough syrup so far?

Can drug addiction be eradicated for good?


Is it time to reinvent the Igbo marriage and bride-price custom?

Time: 2pm


Chigozie Nnabuihe Ph.D., Lecturer in the Department of African and Asian studies, University of Lagos

Immanuel Ibe-Anyanwu, Journalist, author, public affairs analyst and social influencer

Chigul (Chioma Omeruah best-known as Chigul), Chigul is a comedienne, singer, actress and compere.

Igbo traditional marriage customs have been known to be a bit ‘stringent’, especially where it affects young women who otherwise would have preferred to get married quite early.

It is almost an unspoken rule that a young man has to be ‘accomplished’ before eventually settling down, otherwise, his potential in-laws would delay the process or in extreme cases, marry out the woman in question to a richer man who is not her choice.

Men and their potential spouses have often complained that they would like an intervention. This debate is designed to open discussions and find a solution or determine if it’s time to change the rhetoric.


Prevalence of domestic violence: The Law, Culture & Religious perspectives

Time: 4:30pm


Dr. Mrs. Olubusola Afolayan – Senior Broadcast Journalist, Yoruba service and presenter of the programme

Barrister Abiola Abiala – A victim of Domestic Violence

Imam Fuad Adeyemi – An Islamic Cleric and  Imam, Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society, Nigeria

Pastor Olugbenga Joel – A Pastor and Missionary in the Redeemed Church Of God,

Mrs. Christiana Ibidunni Alakija-Ladapo – A retired Director at the Lagos State Ministry of Health and now a Consultant on Child, Adolescents and Women’s health.

In the present day Nigeria, domestic violence is now on the high side which is becoming fatal day by day. The press has been awash with the news of husbands sending their wives to an early grave and vice versa.

Domestic violence in Nigeria cuts across tribes, culture, sex, religion etc. In developed countries, the best option to bring immediate relief to couples experiencing domestic violence is separation or divorce. The Nigerian law also supports divorce on the ground of domestic violence but our culture in Nigeria, especially in Yoruba land and almost all religious sects in the country stand against the law on divorce.

Our cultural belief is that a woman, under no circumstances must leave her home or family. She must endure to the end no matter the harsh conditions she is passing through in her matrimonial home. Even if such woman returns to her father’s house, her parent will still take her back to her husband’s house because it’s a serious taboo for a married woman to return to her father’s house.

Also on religious ground, many Bible and Quran passages would be quoted to buttress the points that once a marriage is consummated, no power on earth must separate them, not even domestic violence.

The questions to ask now are:

1) What is the exact position of the law against domestic violence and divorce?

2) What are religious leaders doing to sensitise their congregations against domestic violence?

3) Does Christianity or Islamic injunctions truly stand against divorce on the ground of domestic violence?

4) What are advocacy groups doing to curb the spate of domestic violence and divorce in Nigeria?

5) Should our Cultural beliefs be encouraged when many lives are being lost to domestic violence?

If you would like to attend or conduct an interview, contact the BBC’s Communications Lead/Publicist Marina Forsythe on [email protected]

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