The Edo State command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has impounded 18.2 metric tons of Indian hemp, also called cannabis, worth N183 million.
The commander of NDLEA in the state, Mr. Wakawa Buba said a total of 18,294 kilogrammes of dried cannabis was seized in three operations with two in Uzebba and one in Enweh, all in Owan West local government area.
He added that two suspected barons were arrested.
Giving details of the operations, Buba said the command intercepted a Maiduguri-bound Dangote truck driver, Zegiru Amadu at Enweh carrying 7,950 kilogrammes of cannabis and using few bags of cement as disguise.
Buba also said a Bauchi State-based suspected cannabis baron, Mohammed Lawal Bello Mustapha, was apprehended at Uzebba, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State where he was facilitating the shipment of 7,272 kilogrammes of cannabis to Bauchi while 3,072 kilogrammes of cannabis was traced to the warehouse of another suspected baron, Lucky Akele at Uzebba.
“All the cases are under investigation and the suspects will soon be charged to court for unlawful possession and dealing in cannabis. They risk a minimum of 15 years sentence if found guilty,” he added.
In his confessional statement, Amadu said he was given N1.3 million to transport the drug to Maiduguri, Bornu State.
“I am a driver with Dangote Cement Company. It is greed that made me to carry the cannabis. They paid me N1.3 million to carry the drug. It is because of poverty but l will not do it again if released,” he said.
Meanwhile, the chairman and chief executive officer of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) arrested the officer who carried out the operation and described the seizure as a “panacea for peace and positive step towards eradicating drugs from circulation.”
“The NDLEA will continue to work assiduously by consolidating on the gains recorded in the fight against insurgency. Over 15 tons of cannabis would have been taken to the north east if not for the timely interception. Several crimes are perpetrated under the influence of drugs like cannabis. The agency will not rest until the problem of cannabis cultivation, trafficking and use is drastically reduced,” he said.
He added that NDLEA had declared total war against cannabis cultivation and promised to deploy adequate resources towards a successful eradication campaign.
He expressed appreciation to the management of Dangote Group for its assistance in arresting the truck driver after he fled leaving the truck load of cannabis.