The Edo Command of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Friday destroyed eight hectares of cannabis sativa farms in the state.
Our correspondent reports that the farms are located in Upokhoten forest, Uzzebba village in Owan West Local Government Area of the state.
Operatives of the command were led on a three-hour journey to the farms where the plantations were cut and set ablaze.
Briefing newsmen after the operation, Mr Ondotimi Bebetu, the command’s Assistant Commander in charge of Operations, said the destruction followed an intelligence-led surveillance, leading to an arrest of three suspects two weeks ago.
Bebetu, who is also the spokesperson for the command, said the two farms were equal to more than 17 tons of cannabis sativa and worth million of naira.
“This destruction is taking place via a follow up activities where some suspects have been arrested two weeks ago.
“There are two farms that has been destroyed here today. The first farm measured 6.28 hectares of space. When you convert to tons, it equals to 15.69 tons.
“The second farm in the same proximity measuring 0.68 hectares, is equal to 1.7 tons. When you sum up the two together, you arrive at 17.4 tons of cannabis destroyed right now.
“Unfortunately this land ought to have been used for cultivation of food crops
“We are using this opportunity to tell the public to give information on how and where to get to these farmlands.
“It is them, their youths and the families that are exposed to the health risk of the cannabis production which they consume every day,” he said.
The NDLEA boss noted that the arrested suspects would be handed over to the legal unit after discreet investigation into the matter is concluded.
The unit, he said, would advise whether to prosecute them or otherwise.
“The real owners are big time barons. We hardly can really get them. They bring these boys to the farm to establish the farms.
“Sometimes, they are abroad, but they just keep monitoring. Even if they mention their names, it is fake. Sometimes, we get them through our surveillance intelligence and bring them to book,” said the assistant commander.
Also speaking, Mr. James Olarewaju, Assistant Commander of Narcotics, Intelligence, said credible intelligence led to the action taken at the farm.
Olarewaju expressed dismay that Edo is a spotlight for cannabis plantations and it had become a year-round farming in the axis.
He said the command was determined to cut the supply chain of the substance through farm destruction as against burning wasting time looking for those selling.
One of the suspects arrested on the farm, Monday Nduul, from Benue, said he was a “job man” brought into the farm to help in weeding.
He said he had not fore knowledge that he was coming to a cannabis farm.