By Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has predicted that forest reserves particularly in rain forest zone in Nigeria may cease to exist soon over the alleged diversion of land to Cannabis Sativa Cultivation instead of food and economic crops.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, Col. Muhammad Abdullah (Rted), recommended drastic steps to check the relentlessly ossified development which he claimed has remain a serious threat to food production in the nation.
Abdullah gave the charge on the occasion of public destruction of 36, 844.7123kg of illicit drugs by Edo state Command of the agency at the Weekend in Benin City.
According to him, “One of the greatest threats to the environment and by extinction, human security is the deforestation that goes with cannabis plantations.
“Our forests are being plundered through indiscriminate felling of economic trees to make way for the illicit cannabis plantations” with grave consequences on the fertility of the forest and the need for quick intervention, he said.
In his welcome address, Edo state Commander of NDLEA, Mr. Buba Wakawa, said the state is one of the states with the highest production of illicit drugs in the Country, lamenting that “a large expanse of farmland has been taken over by cannabis plantations in the state.
He noted that the Command had identified that drugs and substance abuse potend great danger to the human health.
He emphasized that school-age Children have been found to be using drugs even at the early age of 13, accounting for the high rate of school dropout, divorce, rape, teenage pregnancies, youth restiveness,
cultism robbery and other crimes.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state who was represented on the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Government House, Mr. Sam Okoh Ose, described the feat recorded by NDLEA as a milestone.
He said the state government will enact a legislation the forfeiture of farmland used for the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa and other illicit drugs in the near future.
He assured that the law would help to check the gross misuse of arable farmland which has been facilitated by drug merchants who take advantage of the bounded transit routes into other neighbouring states in the Country.
A breakdown of the destroyed illicit drugs by the agency, indicate that Cannabis Sativa has 136, 437.75kg and Cocain 0.0139kg. Others are Heroin 0.0084kg, while 406.94kg was for Psychotropic substances.