By Deborah Coker
Benin – The Edo Command of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called for support from the state government to enable it to destroy more than 130,000 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa.
The Commander of agency in the state, Mr Buba Wakawa, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Tuesday.
He said that the Federal High Court had approved the destruction of the suspected substance, which was recovered from suspected peddlers.
Wakawa said that in spite of the court’s order, the command had yet to execute the court order due to logistics constraints.
According to him, Edo is one of the highest cannabis-producing states and the support of the state government is urgently needed to suppress the negative consequences of drug trafficking in the state.
“The activities of drug barons in the state are detrimental to the peace and security of Edo indigenes and inhabitants.
“An aerial survey of cannabis farms conducted in the state with the support of the Nigerian Air Force and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed a massive cannabis plantation in the state.
“It is dangerous for cannabis to compete with legitimate crops.
“Cannabis is the cheapest and easily accessible stimulant at the disposal of criminals and unless this source is cut off, the government will end up reacting to criminal attacks,’’ Wakawa said.
He described the drug situation as a serious threat to food and social security in the state, and said proactive response by stakeholders remained a viable step in checking the drug problem.
According to Wakawa, executing the court order will free the exhibit room to accommodate new drug seizures.
“Besides, the command needs operational vehicles as well as funds for effective motorised patrol and intensive sensitisation of students and members of the public on the dangers of drug production and trafficking.
“Drugs have no respect for age, sex and status as it affects the health of users. Innocent citizens also suffer attacks from criminals under the influence of drugs.’’
The commander, however, said that in spite of the challenges, the command successfully arrested 29 suspected drug traffickers, comprising 23 males and six females.
“We are prepared to make the necessary sacrifice toward a crime-free society.
“Drug dependence is truncating the destiny of many, resulting in loss of jobs, school drop-out, deteriorating health, broken marriages, youth restiveness and increase in crimes,’’ he said.