…As Akeredolu Asks FG To Support Cannabis Farming
By Kenneth Jukpor
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Lagos State Command recently, intercepted a 20 foot MAN Diesel truck with Registration No. JJJ 959 XN laden with 150 bags of Cannabis Sativa with the street value worth N20 million, weighing 2.139 tons concealed in fake compartment of the truck, yesterday.
Two male suspects; Monday Michael, the driver aged 46 years and Alex Adieli his conductor aged 43 years were also apprehended on their way from Ondo State to Lagos.
The suspect during interrogation by NDLEA officials said he has been in the illicit dealings for years without being caught. He appealed to NDLEA to be left off the hook as he will desist from the business.
According to the Acting State Commander, Barr. Frederick Ezeorah, the achievement came as a result of intelligence gathered over a period of time on the criminal activities of the above named persons who specialize in bringing such illicit substances into Lagos State.
He added that the consequences of trafficking in illicit drugs and abuse of dangerous substances must be the concern of every well-meaning Nigerians; the effect knows no bound and anybody can be a victim of its dangerous health and mental implications, violence and its associated crimes.
The commander while commending the operatives who arrested the suspects 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 and other crimes. Over 2.139 tons of Cannabis would have been taken to Lagos if not for the timely interception by men of this command. Several crimes are perpetrated under the influence of drugs like Cannabis and the agency will not rest until the problem of cannabis cultivation, trafficking and usage are drastically reduced “, he stated.
He said NDLEA has declared a total war against illicit drugs and promised to deploy adequate resources towards monitoring, interception and arrest of dealers and consumers.
The commander however solicited the cooperation of the general public and other security agencies to provide the command with confidential and reliable information about those merchants of death so as to make Lagos State crime free for the good of all.
Meanwhile in a related development the Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has expressed the need for the Federal Government to encourage the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, also known as Indian hemp, in the country.
Akeredolu, who described Ondo State as a hotbed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria, urged the Federal Government to support the growing of medicinal cannabis in large quantity in the state, saying its (cannabis) industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs for youths and spur the economic diversification of the country.
He made the request on his twitter handle on Tuesday while commenting on his recent mission to Thailand. The governor said he was in Thailand in company with the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha (retd), for a programme tagged, ‘Medicinal Cannabis Extract Development.’
According to him, Nigeria might be shortchanged with an estimated value of $145bn in 2025 if it failed to tap into the legal marijuana market, explaining that their visit to Thailand was to assess the materials and best practices (of medicinal cannabis planting and growing) with the possibility of replicating them in Nigeria.
He said, “We are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantageous to the state and Nigeria, at large just the way Thai Government has done. Cannabis is used for medical purposes; how can it be cultivated for specific purposes and not be abused.
“The programme is centred on exploiting the possibility of medicinal cannabis extract development and it is aimed at building capacity and researching the modality of licensing for planting and extracting cannabis oil in Nigeria as well as exploiting its commercial potential with focus on Ondo State.
“We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. How to grow cannabis is never a problem in Ondo State.”