Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has expressed concern at the depletion of the state forest resources by unpatriotic citizens who grow cannabis in the forest reserves across the state.
Speaking while playing host to the new State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in Akure, Governor Akeredolu lamented the trafficking of illicit drugs by some people.
He said it was unfortunate that hectares of land supposed to be under the forest reserves were being used for growing Indian hemp.
“Cannabis and its cultivation is a great concern to us in Ondo State. We have today, a very large area which should be for our use in terms of forest reserves.
“Unfortunately, our men don’t have the necessary amunitions to confront them, hence the need for collaboration with you to eradicate their nefarious activities,” he said.
Earlier the State Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mr Haruna Dagara had stated that the command had seized a total of 295.779 Kg of Cannabis Sativa, destroyed about 36.5 hectares of Cannabis farm, arrested twenty-six suspects comprising twenty-four males and two females, and recorded a total of five convictions of drug defendants.
The Commander who took over from his predecessor on 3rd May, 2018 added that the command had also secured final forfeiture and permission to publicly destroy one hundred and eleven tons of cannabis as part of efforts to curb illicit drug trafficking and abuse in the state.
“In the same vein, from January to date, the command arrested a total of one hundered and two suspects comprising of ninety-three males and nine females, and seized a total of 13,523.68 Kg of Cannabis Sativa.
“Also from January till date, 172 litres of ‘skuchies’ was seized, 48.5 hectares of cannabis farm destroyed, three houses and five vehicles seized, and eleven convictions recorded.
Consequent upon the damaging effects of illicit drugs which Mr Dagara outlined during the visit, he appealed for support from the State Government in a bid to rid the state of cannabis cultivation and drug abuse through public enlightenment campaigns, counselling and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The NDLEA State Commander was accompanied on the visit by top officers in the state command while the Head of Service, Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu, Esq.; Attorney General and Honourable Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye,Esq and the Honourable Commissioner for Natural Resources, Mr Rasheed Badmus were part of top government functionaries who joined Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to receive the visitors.