LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency agents attacked the Ujiogba Forest Reserve in Esan West LGA of Edo State and destroyed five hectares of its plantation and 7,286 kg of stored skunk.
According to the NAFDAC’s head of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, Hundreds of jumbo bags of the illegal substance were reportedly stored by some cartels inside the dense forest of the reserve for distribution to some states prior to the general elections.
This led to the special operation that was carried out on 22 February. Babafemi said: “The operation could however not go on immediately until after several roadblocks set up by armed guards of the drug lords were cleared and they were overpowered by the superior firepower of Strike Force officers of the agency in a gun duel.
“After the initial resistance, two rifles, spent cartridges of guns and an empty shell of an AK47 rifle were recovered while a 24-year-old suspect, Calvary Essien, was arrested.
“After the gun fight, the NDLEA operatives in their numbers successfully descended on a big warehouse constructed with wood and zinc containing 100 jumbo bags of cannabis sativa weighing 3.2 tons, 5,000 bags of cannabis weighing 65 tons, and 137 bags of cannabis seeds weighing 4.66 tons, totalling 72.86 tons.
“Seven bags of cannabis and one bag of its seeds were subsequently taken out of the warehouse for further investigation and prosecution of suspects while the rest was set ablaze.”
Babafemi added that this operation followed a similar one that took place on 18 Jan in the Opuje forest in the Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State as massive warehouses and tents holding more than 317,417 kilograms of the psychoactive substance were destroyed and set ablaze over the course of two days.
He added: “At least, a police impersonator, Omoruan Theophilus, 37, who was parading as a police Inspector to convey the drugs from the forests to the cities and three others Aigberuan Jacob, 42, Ekeinde Zaza, 53, and Naomi Ohiewere, 42, were arrested in connection with the drugs.”
He added that in his reaction to the latest operation in Ujiogba forest, the Chairman, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd.) The Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retired), praised all the officers involved in the effort and all of the nearly 10,000 officers, men and women deployed across the nation in the pre-election renewed offensive action to clear every part of the country of illicit substances for use by thugs and miscreants before, during, and after the elections.
“He said taking the battle to the doorsteps of the cartels deep in the forests is to attack the menace of drug supply from the source and to also send the right message to the barons that there is no safe haven for them and their investments anywhere in Nigeria,” Babafemi noted.