7th February, 2021
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
The Edo state command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has arrested the Chairman of a vigilante group and six others, suspected to be dealers of cannabis Sativa.
The suspects were arrested in a village in Ukpuje forest, Owan west local government area of the state,
The command also discovered four large warehouses containing 233,778 kilograms of dry weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa, with an estimated street value of over N1.4 billion.
This is the largest single concentration of cannabis discovered by the command so far.
The suspected drug barons include the chairman of vigilante in Ukpuje, Emmanuel Oki (62), Chief Odi Sabato (42), Bright Inemi Edegbe (53), Gowon Ehimigbai (53), Enodi Ode (37), Ayo Oni (30) and Akhime Benjamin (43).
The State Commander of NDLEA, Buba Wakama, disclosed that a joint team of NDLEA and Army operatives carried out the raid that lasted from Thursday night to Friday night, with a strength of 80 personnel.
Wakama gave the breakdown of the drugs as follows; 318 bags of 80kg each weighing 25,440kg, 15,853 bags of 13kg weighing 206,089kg.
While the total of 2,249kg of the suspected cannabis sativa was confiscated, 231,529kg was destroyed at the farm.
According to him, “The community that is notorious for cannabis cultivation and trafficking as well as attacks on law enforcement officers, stood still as a combined team of NDLEA and combatant military personnel overran the drug trafficking syndicates due to our superior firepower.
“We took delivery of two new Hilux operational vehicles presented to the command last week. This is the first assignment of the vehicles and it turned out to be the best for the command. We are grateful to the chairman, and this is a clear warning that there is no room for drug barons in the State.”
The Edo NDLEA boss noted that the seizures represent a large chunk of the previous cannabis planting season.
In his words, “They planted, watered, harvested and processed the drug only for us to dispossess them of their labour because their action is criminal.
“The warehouses are located in the heart of the forest, yet we were able to uncover them, based on intelligence gathering.”
Wakawa thanked the Four Brigade Commander in Benin City, Brigadier General, M. A. Sadik for the logistics and personnel assistance that led to the successful clampdown on the cannabis syndicates.
He described the synergy between the Nigerian Army and NDLEA in the state as an unbeatable force against drugs and related crime in society.