A shot of Monkeytail in a glass cup. Photo Credit: www.nigerianbulletin.com
Whoever came up with the name "Monkey tail" must have a criminal sense of humour, as the name is a twist of the term “cocktail,” which refers to “an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit or spirits mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice or cream.” But just as there is nothing avian about cocktail, there is equally nothing simian about monkeytail, which is the slang for a local brew of cannabis and gin (ogogoro) commonly sold as herbal potion (Agbo), hawked on the street by female herbal mixologists or sold from roadside kiosks, especially in Lagos. So popular is Monkeytail that it found its way into the Nigerian popular culture, mentioned in lyrics of songs that are more or less street anthems of young people.
Yet, it is not only youths that guzzle shots of Monkeytail, even old men and housewives patronise the herbal drink sellers under the pretext that the drink gives them "manpower" (aphrodisiac) for sex, and also serve as a tonic that stimulates and make them active for the day.
Yet, those who drink Monkeytail are guilty of drug abuse because its main ingredient is a banned substance. Monkeytail is a cannabis juice, brewed by soaking the flowers, leaves, stems and roots of the psychotropic plant in ogogoro (local gin) for a few days. Other mixologists prepare the juice by boiling the plant and mixing the liquid extract with gin.
Cannabis is one of the illicit substances outlawed by the NDLEA Act. Anyone who “sells, buys, exposes or offers for sale or otherwise deals in or with” cannabis (or its derivative such as Monkeytail), according to the law, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
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