NDLEA destroys N1.5bn Indian hemp farm in Kogi


Gbenga Odogun, Lokoja

The Kogi State Command of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency has commenced the destruction of over four kilometres Indian hemp plantation estimated to worth around N1.5bn in the Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of the state.

The state Commander, NDLEA, Mr Alfred Adewumi, who disclosed this while speaking with journalists during the destruction of the farms at the Kara Forest in Agbokete community, Akpanya, stated that Kogi state was gradually turning into a producer of illicit drugs.

Adewumi, who expressed worry over the changing status of the state from that of a transit point to a cultivating state of cannabis sativa, said he could not believe what he had seen on the farm.

He stated, “I want to tell you that I am astounded, shocked and perplexed that something as huge and enormous as this can be discovered in Kogi State.

“Our assumption is that Kogi State, even though it is surrounded by some states that are notorious for cannabis Sativa cultivation, is just simply a transit point because of its strategic location; however, to discover that within Kogi State we can have a plantation of this huge proportion is something that has shocked me to the marrow.”

Adewumi told journalists that the startling discovery was as result of intelligence gathered by the operatives of the command, who placed the suspect farmer on surveillance, and he was subsequently arrested.

“I will simply tell you that it is a very enormous plantation of cannabis sativa. It is not just a single farmland. And of course, all of you have been on my entourage and we have walked over four kilometres and we are still in the farm. So, to begin to describe what I have seen today is simply to tell you that I am shocked that Kogi State is now being used as a place where cannabis sativa is being cultivated so extensively.”

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He explained that the hemp was being cultivated by an entire community in the forest.

“I must tell you that what we have here is far in excess of the 10 hectares of cannabis sativa farmland discovered earlier on and in excess of the 7.5 hectares we discovered in mid-September. If you put all of these farms together, you will see we will be talking of over 35 hectares of cannabis sativa plantation.  To begin to talk about the market value, to be frank with you, we are talking about more than N1.5bn of cultivated illicit drug here,” he added.

Adewumi commended the Kogi State Government for the support given to the NDLEA to embark on the destruction of such farms, adding that without this, the command would not have been able to achieve great mileage in combating drug problems in the state.

He stated that the suspect, Ameh Joseph, would soon be charged, adding that those who deal in cannabis sativa should desist as the command would leave no stone unturned towards ridding the state of the cultivation and use of illicit drugs.

Joseph, in an interview with journalists, said he was the owner of a section of the farm and explained that he ventured into the Indian hemp business because of economic difficulties.

Joseph pointed out that he was once employed as a manager in charge of cannabis sativa on a farm at Ogbese in Ondo State in 1995 with a salary of between N85,000 and N100,000.

He noted that when he returned, he ventured into a legitimate business, which collapsed recently, and he took to cannabis cultivation as an alternative.

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The suspect, who was full of regret, said he would never go back to the business and warned other youths not to get involved in any illegal business, because it would backfire one day.

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