The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has destroyed 14.13 metric tons of prohibited drugs in Ibadan, Oyo State, South West Nigeria.
The drugs which were destroyed in the full glare of the general public were intercepted by Oyo State Command of the Agency over a two-year period.
According to Omolade Faboyede, Oyo State Commander of the Agency, the drugs consisted of 14, 127.705 kilograms of Cannabis sativa, 40.601 kilograms of Psychotropic substances, 56.05 grams of Cocaine and 0.8 grams of Heroin. She noted that the public destruction coming two years after a similar exercise took place in the State was an indication that the illicit drug trade is not about to stop in the State and that more efforts was required by all stakeholder to counter the trend. She recalled that in 2014, the Agency destroyed 20, 784.596 kilograms of the illicit substances in Oyo State.
Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (Rtd.) noted at the event that the exercise was to ensure public safety because confiscated drugs still remained a threat even in custody. According to him, aside from sending strong signals to criminal drug entrepreneurs that their deadly commodities are only worth the ashes, “the public destruction of the exhibits is to increase public confidence in NDLEA’s work.” “It is indeed good to be transparent and accountable to the public by showing that the drugs seized and exhibited in court and subsequently ordered for destruction are the real drugs and not substituted with any other substance”, the Chairman maintained.
He decried the indiscriminate cultivation of Cannabis within the Southwest in spite of its numerous socio-economic and security consequences.
“As a result of Cannabis cultivation, it has become increasingly difficult to find virgin forests. We are now faced with deforestation and soil degradation because of the operations of Cannabis farmers, felling invaluable pristine trees in sight to pave room for the cultivation of the illicit crops. Worse still, they engage the under-aged who ordinarily should be in school to tend their illicit Cannabis farms, thereby robbing them opportunity to develop as good citizens”, the Chairman revealed.
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who received the NDLEA Chairman in audience in Government House before the public burning exercise, noted that the State Government is more determined to ensure that its anti-Cannabis cultivation policy is enforced to the letter.
According to the Governor,
“it is the Policy of Oyo State Government to confiscate any Cannabis farm land and hand over the land to international investors to transform it into an economically generative venture. All the labourers on the seized Cannabis farm land will be recruited by the legitimate investors.”
The Governor urged all the Local Government Chairmen and traditional rulers to be mindful of the activities in the forests under their jurisdiction as they would be made to answers questions upon discovery of any illegal farms within their domain.
The public destruction exercise in Ibadan brings to 34 metric tons the total quantity of drugs publicly destroyed by NDLEA since this year. In July 2017, the Agency destroyed 20 metric tons of drugs in Abuja, FCT.