An orphaned 18-year-old secondary school boy was among those arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency as it embarked on destruction of cannabis farms valued at N15.8 billion in Osun State.
The boy, Monday Ogwugwa, said that he was brought to the plantation to work in order to get money to register for his Senior Secondary School certificate examination.
Ogwugwa’s words: “My name is Monday Ogwugwa.
“I lost my parents when I was a little child.
“A man brought me from Delta State to this farm to work so that I could get money to register for Senior Secondary School certificate examination.
“This is my first time of coming to work in a hemp farm.
“It was here that I knew it was a hemp farm.
“I have nobody to help me.”
The chairman of the Agency, Ahmadu Giade, has called for maximum punishment for cannabis cultivators in the country.
According to Giade, drug barons must be financially incapacitated and made to face the wrath of the law.
His words: “In this operation alone, we successfully destroyed a total of 2,260,800kg of cannabis. This is a clear indication that cannabis cultivators shall not be allowed to enjoy the proceeds of their criminal drug activities. Dispossessing drug barons of N15.8 billion in a single operation is a highly commendable feat.
“We shall continue to trace and destroy cannabis farms. The drug barons arrested in connection with the cannabis plantations shall be diligently prosecuted and I expect nothing but maximum punishment. A criminal act that generates so much money deserves serious attention of stakeholders. Nigeria will continue to win the drug war.”
The Director of Operations and investigation of the NDLEA, Olugbenga Mabo, who supervised the operation, described it as timely.
Some of the cannabis farms were destroyed at Arinkinkin forest at Isokan Local Government Area, while others were located at Ayedade Local Government Area both in Osun State.
Mabo said: “The operation was timely because the farmers had commenced harvest already. The good news is that both the harvested plants and the fresh plants were destroyed. We are currently processing some intelligence reports and more farms shall be completely destroyed.”
The NDLEA Joint Task Force Commander, Adeniyi Muyiwa, said that officers made a lot of sacrifices in making the week-long operation a huge success.
Muyiwa said: “Apart from deploying officers from the entire South West for the assignment; we engaged the services of eighty (80) labourers in the destruction exercise. I am glad that officers were enthusiastic in spite of the tasking nature of the operation. We were determined to work and I am glad that the entire plantation was destroyed.”