Pictured! NDLEA Destroys N15.1bn Hemp, Arrests Cartel Kingpin

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A coordinated sting operation by the National Drug Law
Enforcement Agency has led to the discovery and destruction of Indian hemp with
a street value of N15.1bn. Saturday Punch learnt that the operation was carried out
across four states-Ekiti, Edo, Delta and Kogi – where cannabis plantations were
also destroyed.
Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, put the total
weight of the cannabis intercepted during the raid code-named ‘Operation Weed
Eater’ as 1,514,278 kg.

One of the targets of the raid was Uche Obi, the operational
head of a cannabis syndicate known as Akunnubas, Saturday Punch learnt.
Obi, who was also known as the ‘King Maker’ was arrested
along with seven other members of the syndicate and two truck drivers.
Speaking on the raid, Head of NDLEA’s Public Affairs, Mr.
Mitchell Ofoyeju, said “Cannabis plantations were raided and destroyed at Ise
Forest Reserve in Ise/Orun Local Government Area of Ekiti State and Ode Camp in
Gboyin Local Government Area of the same state.
“Another plantation was also destroyed at Utese Forest
Reserve in Edo State. One hundred officers drawn from various State Commands
participated in the operation that lasted for twelve days.”
Ofoyeju said during investigation, Obi revealed that he was
referred to as the King Maker because of his overriding influence in
determining appointment of other executive members of the cartel.
He said he was also responsible for the execution of
punishment on erring members and foes. The cartel was said to control much of
the cannabis business in the South West and South South of Nigeria.
“Our investigation revealed that the Akunnubas are responsible
for over eighty per cent of cannabis production in Nigeria. The syndicate hires
cheap labour including school age children to work in cannabis farms. They use
motorcycles in conveying processed cannabis from the farms to a temporary
covert warehouse from where trucks are later used in taking the drug for
inter-State distribution,” Ofoyeju told Saturday Punch.
NDLEA’s Director of Operations and General Investigations,
Mr. Olugbenga Mabo, who coordinated operations, said in Ekiti State alone,
cannabis weighing 1.5 million kg was destroyed in two cannabis plantations. In
Edo, 9,300kg was intercepted and destroyed while 19,675kg was intercepted in a
truck in Delta State.
Mabo said, “Two trucks containing 2,103kg of cannabis were
seized in Lokoja, Kogi State. The cases are under investigation.
“The interception of a truck carrying a forty-foot container
loaded with 19,675kg along the Amai Road, Obiaruku, Delta State by our officers
at the Delta State Command and two trucks containing 2,103kg of cannabis by the
Kogi State Command is impressive.
Chairman of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said the arrest of Obi
was a reward for painstaking investigation.

“He was under investigation by the agency for several
months. This is an era of protracted and diligent investigation that will
expose illicit drug activities. I am delighted with the success of the
painstaking surveillance carried out by officers in ‘Operation Weed Eater’,”
Giade stated.

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