The Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the weekend, raided a large cannabis warehouse situated in a forest in Owan West Local Government Area of the state.
The illicit drug warehouse, according to the state Commandant of the anti-drug agency, Buba Wakawa, comprised four large cannabis stored with a total of 233,778kg of marijuana with an estimated street value of over N1.4 billion.
He also said seven suspected drug barons believed to be running the cannabis trafficking syndicate have been apprehended.
Wakawa, who described the discovery as the largest single concentration of cannabis discovered by the command, gave the breakdown of the marijuana as 318 bags of 80kg with each weighing 25,440kg; and 15,853 bags of 13kg weighing 206,089kg, adding however, that while the total quantity seized is 2,249kg, others weighing 231,529kg were destroyed on the spot.
The Edo NDLEA commander ascribed the success of the operation to the enabling environment created by the new Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (rtd).
According to him, “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 Edo State.”
He stated that the seizures represent a large chunk of the previous cannabis planting season, adding that: “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.
“The cannabis warehouses were located at Ukpuje forest in Esan West Local Government Area of the state. 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 fire power.”
The Edo NDLEA boss disclosed that a combined team of his men and military officers that carried out the raid had a strength of 80 personnel, while the operation lasted from Thursday night through Friday night February 5, 2021 was jointly coordinated by the officer in charge of the Strike Force, James Olarewaju, the Principal Staff Officer Operations, Bisong Peter and Captain Abdullahi Abukori.
Wakawa thanked the 4 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 in the area, describing the synergy between the Nigerian Army and NDLEA in Edo as an unbeatable force against drugs and related crime in the society, just as he said that the arrested suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.