NDLEA seizes 233, 778kg of cannabis worth N1.4bn in Edo


The Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it has discovered four warehouses containing 233,778kg of cannabis valued at N1.4Bn.

Buba Wakawa, state commander of the command said the cannabis was discovered in Ukpuje forest in Owan West Local Government Area of the State.

Wakawa said seven suspected drug barons believed to be running the cannabis trafficking syndicate have equally been apprehended, adding that the suspects will be charged as soon as the investigations are completed.

“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”, Wakawa stated at the weekend in Benin City.

The state commander explained that the illicit drugs seized was the largest single concentration of cannabis discovered by the command.

He gave the breakdown of the drugs as follows; 318 bags of 80kg each weighing 25,440kg, 15,853 bags of 13kg weighing 206,089kg.

He added that the total quantity seized is 2,249kg while others weighing 231,529kg was destroyed at the farm.

Wakawa listed the arrested suspected drug barons to include the chairman of a vigilance group in Ukpuje, Emmanuel Oki, 62 , Odi Sabato, 42 and Bright Inemi Edegbe, 53 .

Others are Gowon Ehimigbai, 53, Enodi Ode, 37, Ayo Oni, 30 and Akhime Benjamin, 43. The state commander said the operation for the discovering of the warehouses were carried out by a joint team of personnel in the state and Army officers.

He said the team had a strength of 80 personnel, while the operation lasted from Thursday night through Friday night February 5, 2021.

He further explained that the operation was jointly coordinated by the Officer in charge of Strike Force, James Olarewaju, the Principal Staff Officer Operations, Bisong Peter and Captain Abdullahi Abukori.

“The seizures represent a large chunk of the previous cannabis planting season. They (farmers) planted, watered, harvested and processed the drug only for us to dispossessed 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 attributed the success of the operation to the enabling environment created by the new chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brigadier General Buba Marwa.

“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”,he added.

He also commended the 4th Brigade Commander in Benin City, Brigadier General, M. A. Sadik for the logistics and assistance that led to the successful clampdown on the cannabis syndicates in the area.

He described the synergy between the Nigerian Army and the NDLEA in the state as an unbeatable force against drugs and related crime in the society.