Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
In its bid to make Kogi State a drug free State, the State Command of National Drug Law and Enforcement National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has commenced the destruction of over four kilometres stretch of Cannabis Sativa farm worth N1.5billlion in Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area.
The State Commander, Mr Alfred Adewumi who disclosed this during the destruction of the farms at Kara Forest in Agbokete Community, Akpanya on Wednesday, stated that the state is gradually turned into a producer of an illicit drug.
Adewunmi who expressed worry over the changing status of Kogi State from a transit point to a cultivating the State of illicit drug stressed that he could not believe what he had seen on the farm.
His words, “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 her 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 a result of intelligence gathered by the operatives of the command who had placed the suspect on surveillance and was subsequently arrested.
He said, “I will simply tell you that it is a very enormous plantation of Cannabis Sativa. It is not just one single farmland.
“And of course, all of you have been on my entourage and we have walked within farms for over four kilometres and we are still within the farms.
“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”.
He explained further that it was actually a community that was cultivating Cannabis Sativa in this forest, stressing that it was community business where over four kilometres of arable land was dedicated to the cultivation of the illicit drug.
“I must tell you that what we have here is far in excess of the 10- hectares of Cannabis Sativa farmland discovered earlier on, in excess of the 7.5 hectares of Cannabis Sativa we discovered sometimes 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 N1.5billion of cultivated illicit drugs here,” he added
Adewumi commended the Kogi State government for the support given to the NDLEA in the State to embark on this destruction exercise, adding that without the support of the State government, the command won’t have been able to achieve this great mileage in combating drug problems in the state.
He stated that the Suspect, Ameh Joseph will soon be charged to Court, adding those involved in Cannabis Sativa should desist as the command would leave no stone unturned towards ridding the state of illicit use and cultivation of drugs.
The suspect, Ameh Joseph in an interview with journalists said he is the owner of a section of the farms, stressing that he ventured into the Cannabis Sativa business when he had an economic crisis.
Joseph pointed out that he had once been employed as farm manager in charge of cannabis Sativa at Ogbese in Ondo State in 1995 with a yearly salary of N85,000 and N100,000.
He noted that when he returned, he ventured into good business until recently when it nose-dived and looked for alternatives in the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa.
The suspect who was full of regret said he would never go back to the cannabis business again, warning other youths not to involve in any illegal business because it will backfire one day.