The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have destroyed 255 hectares of cannabis farms spread across five local government areas in Ondo State.
In what has gone down in history as a major operation that lasted seven days, the anti-narcotic agency also arrested 13 suspects, 250 kilograms of cannabis seeds as well as recovered 63.85kg cannabis weeds during the operation, deep inside five major forests.
The NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, in a statement said the operations were carried out at the Omolowo/Powerline forest; Ipele forest; Ala forest; Ogbese forest; Utte and Okuluse forest, spreading across the affected five local council areas.
“The exercise, codenamed,‘Operation Abub’, which began at Ogbese forest on Tuesday, 15 February, lasted till Monday 21 February, 2022.
“At the Ogbese forest, a suspect, Olatunde Olaoluwa, was arrested in his cannabis farm measuring 10 hectares, which was destroyed and burnt along with other cannabis farms spread across the Ogbese riverbank.
“The following day, 16 February, the agency’s Strike Force operatives, in their numbers, stormed Ipele forest where they arrested Amos Mark; Luke Job; Monday Momoh and Otunuya Waya, while 19 hectares of irrigated cannabis plantations were destroyed.
“One of the suspects, who escaped during the farm destruction, was later arrested in his house.
“The Omolowo community in Ogbese area was next on Wednesday, 17 February when one Mary Udonije was arrested inside a 10-hectare farm with 16.5kg of cannabis seeds and 4.5 kg of processed cannabis.
“Also recovered in the farm was an irrigation pumping machine with over 700 metres hose for watering the illicit weed.
“Not less than 154kg of cannabis seeds was also seized at Ala Forest, Akure North Local Government Area, with over 30 hectares of irrigation cannabis farms destroyed and burnt. A suspect, John Mike who claimed to be a labourer was also apprehended with 2.5kg of cannabis seeds.
“On day four of the operation, 54 hectares of cannabis farm was destroyed at Utte and Okuluse forest, Ose Local Government Area of the state. Also recovered in the farm was 95kg of cannabis seeds, 2.5kg of processed cannabis sativa and a pumping machine with long hose.
“On the fifth day, one Anthony Agbe, 58, was arrested with 43kg of fresh cannabis inside a farm earlier destroyed at Ogbese. He claimed he was contracted by one Henry Daniel, (a.k.a Calender),who is at large, to help gather the destroyed cannabis weeds.
“On the same day, one Ahmadu Abubakar was arrested with three dane guns in a hut within a farm where over three hectares were destroyed at Akure North Local Government Area of the state.
“On the last day of the operation, Monday, 21 February, over 50 clusters of cannabis farm spread across 47 hectares were destroyed and 2kg of cannabis seeds seized.
“A suspect, Olorunlogo Lekan, was apprehended inside a large cannabis farm measuring 10 hectares at Ala Forest before it was destroyed and burnt by Strike Force officers drawn across Edo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states commands of the anti-narcotic agency.
“At least, 72 hectares of other cannabis farms in small clusters close to the identified ones in the five forests were also destroyed in the course of the operation,” Babafemi ssid.
He qouted the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), as commending the officers and men of the Strike Force Corps of the agency for their sacrifices and commitment to the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari, that all such cultivation and plantations in the forests must be located and destroyed.
Marwa also called on them to look out for more of such farms in any part of the country for similar response, the release further disclosed.