NDLEA destroys cannabis plantation worth over N1.5bn in Kogi, arrests suspect
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Kogi Command has destroyed Cannabis sativa farms worth over N1.5 billion in Agba-Okete community in Igalamela-Adolu Local Government Area of Kogi.
Speaking on Tuesday evening in Kara forest belonging to the community, the Kogi Commander of the NDLEA, Mr Alfred Adewunmi said through intelligence gathering, his officers discovered an entire community in the Eastern part of the state where cannabis cultivation is their major source of livelihood.
The Topography of the adjourning cannabis farms covering an expanse of land of about four kilometres according to Ademunmi further portrayed the lurking danger arising from some citizens’ desperate bid to make quick money without considering the implications on the society.
Adewunmi who went into the forest alongside 80 NDLEA personnel and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) expressed shock over the discovery.
“I tell you that I am really perplexed, and shocked that something as huge and enormous as this can be discovered in Kogi State.
“Our assumption had been that Kogi State, even though surrounded by some States that are notorious in Cannabis Sativa cultivation, was simply a transit point because of the strategic location of the State.
“However, to discover that within Kogi State we can have a plantation of this huge proportion is something that I must tell you has shocked me to my bone marrow.
“it is a very enormous plantation of Cannabis Sativa. It is not just a farmland. All of you have been in my entourage and we have walked within farms which is over four kilometers and are still within the farm. We started this operation since 10 in the morning.
“It is about 5:55pm. To begin to describe what I have seen today is to simply tell you that it will be a great deception to tell you that Kogi state is not being used as a place were cannabis sativa is cultivated.
“How will a whole community be cultivating cannabis sativa? Are we saying there is no legitimate business out there that would fetch them income? They dedicated about 4KM of their arable land to the cultivation of cannabis sativa. It is indeed worrisome and alarming”.
The commander, however, commended the state government for its support in sustaining the fight against illicit drug trafficking adding that the command would not relent in ensuring that Kogi becomes a drug-free state.
“We have to muster five times the resources we have deployed today to achieve this great task. Here we have more than 80 officers of NDLEA, NSCDC, and to ensure that this over 40 hectares of cannabis farms land is totally destroyed”, he added.
He stated that the prime suspect and owner of one of the farms, Ameh Joseph, would soon be charged to Court adding that efforts were on to arrest owners of the other cannabis farms.
He charged those involved in cannabis cultivation to desist, saying that the command would leave no stone unturned towards ridding the state of illicit use and cultivation of illicit drugs.
The 29-year-old suspect, Ameh Joseph in an interview with Journalists said he was the owner of a section of the farms stressing that he ventured into cannabis sativa farming as a result of economic hardship.
Joseph pointed out that he had once been employed as farm manager in charge of cannabis Sativa at Ogbese in Ondo State with a yearly salary of between N85, 000 and N100,000.
He noted that when he returned, he ventured into a good business until recently when it nose-dived and he found an alternative in the cultivation of cannabis sativa.
The suspect who was full of regrets said he would never go back to the business again, warning other youths not to get involved in illegal businesses as it would backfire one day.