Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have destroyed a cannabis sativa farms worth over N1.5 billion located at Agba-Okete community in Igalamela-Adolu Local Government Area of Kogi.
Kogi Commander of the NDLEA, Mr Alfred Adewunmi who spoke to newsmen on Tuesday evening after storming Kara forest with 80 NDLEA personnel and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said officers under his command discovered an entire community in the Eastern part of the state where cannabis cultivation is their major source of livelihood.
“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.
“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”
Adewunmi said the prime suspect and owner of one of the farms, Ameh Joseph would soon be charged to Court. He added that they have intensified effort to arrest owners of the other cannabis farms.
Ameh who admitted being the owner of a section of the farm, said he ventured into cannabis sativa farming as a result of economic hardship. He also recalled being employed as a farm manager in charge of cannabis Sativa at Ogbese in Ondo State in 1995 with a yearly salary of between N85, 000 and N100,000.