The Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said it discovered suspected cannabis warehouses in Ukpuje forest in Owan West Local Government Area of the state.
Buba Wakawa, the state commander of the agency, who announced this at a news conference in Benin City, said that the village has four suspected large cannabis warehouses with 233,778 kilogrammes of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis, adding that the substance had an estimated street value of more than N1.4 billion.
He also said that seven suspected drug barons believed to be running the cannabis trafficking syndicate had equally been arrested.
“This is the largest single concentration of cannabis discovered by the command,” Wakawa said.
He gave the breakdown of the substance to include 318 bags of 80 kilogrammes each and 15,853 bags of 13 kilogrammes each.
He added that while the quantity seized weighed 2,249 kilogrammes, others weighing 231,529 kilogrammes were destroyed.
According to Wakawa, the seizure was made possible due to the good working environment created by Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.), the new chairman of the agency.
“We took delivery of two new 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 said.
Wakawa noted that the seizures represented a large chunk of the previous cannabis planting season.
“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,” he explained.
He added that it took the combined team of NDLEA and combatant military personnel to overrun the drug trafficking syndicates.
He thanked Brig.-Gen. Musa Sadiq, the 4 Army Brigade Commander, for the logistics and personnel assistance that led to the successful clampdown on the cannabis syndicates in the area.
“The suspects will be investigated and the case charged to court soon,” Wakawa added.