If you are yet to read about or watch the documentary entitled ‘Sweet Sweet Codeine’, perhaps you haven’t been on social media or moved closed to the television in recent times. In a five-month undercover investigation, Kayode Soyinka, editor of BBC Pidgin, and Ruona Meyer, a BBC correspondent, led a team of reporters across the country, interacting with victims of drug abuse and those making profit out of their misfortune.
The investigation revealed how some corrupt officials of big pharmaceutical companies conspire with distributors who violate the standard procedure by making the cough syrup available in the open market, thereby giving the public uncontrolled access to it.
Twenty-four hours after the documentary was aired, the ministry of health banned the production and import of codeine cough syrup. Subsequently, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) raided four pharmaceutical companies. There have also been reactions from top government officials, influential personalities and members of the public.
In this interview with TheCable, Soyinka spoke about the story behind the story, challenges encountered in the course of the investigation, how the Nigerian media can collaborate on similar projects, and future investigative projects of the BBC.