OBIDATT2023 Showdown Music Concert

OBIDATT2023 Showdown Music Concert

Thursday 25 September 2014



• Men of the NDLEA at a siezed hemp farm
At least two offi­cials of the Ondo State Ministry of Natural Re­sources are currently in soup for allegedly aiding and abetting cultiva­tors of cannabis (Indian Hemp) at the Govern­ment Forest Reserve in Epele in the eastern part of the state.
The two suspects whose identities were not released may face trial any moment from now going by feelers from the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Two suspected farm­ers who were arrested in the forest reserve, Charles Osanebe and Godwin Azonobi had upon their arrest by officials of the NDLEA confessed that some officials of the state Ministry of Natural Resources collaborate with them in their illicit work.
The suspects also told officials of the NDLEA that forest guards working at the forest reserve often released land to them for the cultivation of canna­bis. They also confessed to have been involved in the illicit work for over a decade as a result of lack of employment.
The Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr Ahmadu Giade who was on an of­ficial visit to the state led officials of the agency to the farm and insisted that the agency would arrest and prosecute the two staff of the state government allegedly collaborating with the offenders. He maintained that the agency would launch a thorough investigation to unravel the identities of the two gov­ernment officials involved in the illegal act.
The forest reserve, it was gathered, has become a ha­ven for cannabis cultivators in the state and an uncon­firmed report has it that the forest has one of the largest cannabis plantations in the country.
The NDLEA also con­firmed that Ondo was one of the states where Canna­bis was cultivated in high quantity, just as the state was rated as the highest in the South West in terms of cannabis cultivation.
However, luck ran against some of the cultiva­tors of the illicit weed in the state last week when a team of NDLEA officials stormed the Epele Forest reserve and destroyed can­nabis plantation on about 50 hectares.
The forest, which is located in the outskirt of the town, has other trees  planted on it, but it has a concentration of
cannabis grown as weed and it was learnt that people from most states of the South West and other regions patronized the forest.

But, the NDLEA Chief Executive who expressed displeasure with the illegal activities at the forest, disclosed that the NDLEA successfully destroyed seven can­nabis plantations measured about 50 hect­ares, adding that the agency would deal decisively with any government official that sabotage the efforts of the NDLEA to discourage the cultivation of the product.
“The NDLEA will not hesitate to pros­ecute any forest guard who aid and abet cannabis cultivators. Cannabis constitutes a serious threat to security and the NDLEA is determined to eradicate narcotic drugs,” he said.
He added that: “Cannabis use can induce rape, unprotected sex, political vio­lence, murder, militancy and many more. This is the second cannabis farm destruc­tion within the past one month and this shall be a continuous exercise until canna­bis cultivation is completely eradicated…The first one was 184 hectares while this one is 50 hectares plantation of cannabis. We are looking forward with optimism to a time when farmers will abandon cannabis for only food and cash crops”.
The destruction of the plantation was carried out by 70 NDLEA officers drawn from South West State Commands as well as 50 labourers hired by the Ondo State command of the agency.
In his remarks after the operation, the NDLEA Director of Operations and Inves­tigation, Mr. Olugbenga Mabo, said that cannabis farm destruction was a proactive strategy to cut off cannabis supply which affects the image of the country, saying
“we achieve more when we destroy cannabis farms than waiting to intercept the drug after it had been harvested by the cultivators.”
He stated that “when citizens get caught for trafficking in cannabis outside the country, the image of Nigeria is affected. Let me commend the officers that par­ticipated in this assignment because, they walked for over four hours and worked in the rain all night long”.
“They crossed over many rivers and surmounted several obstacles to get the job done. Drug control is a hazardous job but we are working very hard to overcome our logistic challenges such as inadequate vehicles and funds,” he added.
One of the suspects whose farm was among those destroyed, Charles Osanebi, told NDLEA investigators that he would have harvested a minimum of 40 bags of cannabis from his farm but for the destruc­tion.
He said “this is my first time of cultivat­ing cannabis in this forest.
I was introduced into cannabis cultiva­tion because I needed money”.

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