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Published On: Fri, Apr 25th, 2014

Ondo State: N619m Cannabis Set Ablaze in Akure

LAGOS 25TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has publicly destroyed 86,779.1kg of cannabis worth six hundred and nineteen million (N619,000,000) naira. The burning took place in Akure, the Ondo State Capital in compliance with a court order issued by Justice Ishaq Sani of the Federal High Court Akure. Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade assured guests at the event that the Federal Government is determined to stop cannabis cultivation in the country.
In his words of Giade, “it gladdens my heart that we are gathered here today to destroy what destroys lives and destinies. Cannabis eradication is a priority project for the Nigerian government. Unless drug barons quit the criminal act, the cannabis farms will be traced and the deadly plants destroyed. Drug barons will equally be arrested and prosecuted in line with the NDLEA Act”. Giade added that the Agency will in addition confiscate all ill-gotten proceeds of drug trafficking and forfeit same to the Federal Government.
The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi in his remarks commended the NDLEA for the success of drug control programmes in Ondo State. “Ondo State command of the NDLEA is working tirelessly in reducing the problem of drug trafficking. The large seizures of drugs and raid operations by the Agency in the last three years have brought sanity to the State. The State government has provided three operational vehicles and will continue to support the anti-drug Agency. I urge every stakeholder to assist the Agency in this daunting task” Olanusi stated.
The destruction of 86,779.1kg of cannabis whose cases have been concluded in court brings the total quantity of drugs destroyed in the State since 2011 to 184,575.52kg. Ondo State Command in 2011 destroyed 36,740.52kg of drugs while in 2012; 61,055.9kg of forfeited cannabis was equally set ablaze.
In addition, 51 hectares of cannabis plantation were destroyed and 92 drug traffickers, comprising 86 males and 6 females arrested. Out of the 92 persons apprehended, 78 are between the ages of 20 and 50 while 9 are within ages 11 and 20. The command seized 51,092.95kg of cannabis from drug barons and counselled 65 persons with drug abuse problem.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that between 149 million and 271 million people worldwide use illegal drugs. It is alarming that a large number of them between 125 million to 203 million are cannabis users. Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also states that cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug in the world. It constitutes half of all drug seizures worldwide.
The NDLEA boss stressed that the threat of cannabis cultivation, trafficking and use must not be ignored. Studies have confirmed that acute effects of hemp use include impairment of cognitive development and psychomotor performance. Cannabis is highly addictive and can cause mental health problems as well as lung damage. Addicts become anxious, panicky, suspicious or paranoid.
Loss of job, accidents, broken relationships and marriages has also been linked with cannabis use. Most heinous crimes are committed under the influence of this deadly drug. Widespread abuse is traceable to availability and relatively lower prices. Other predisposing factors include ignorance of cannabis effects, peer pressure, low self-esteem as well as environmental influence from family, school, workplace and community.
Giade noted that statistics of destroyed drug exhibits in the State is a wakeup call for stakeholders to further intensify control efforts. “The large expanse of land used for cannabis cultivation is a threat to food security. As security managers, it is important for us to rebase the drug control situation in the State. We must continue to take away the profit and make drug trafficking unattractive. This we can achieve by effective public enlightenment and necessary logistic support” he stated.
He thanked traditional rulers in the State for their support towards our drug control efforts and called for persistent attacks on drug syndicates.

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