The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) destroyed 110.542 tonnes of drugs in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday.
Spokesman of the agency, Jonah Achema, described the haul as “the single largest public destruction of exhibits by burning, coming after the one by the Edo State Command, which gross weight was 136 tonnes.
“The drugs, mainly cannabis sativa, were some of the seizures made by NDLEA Ondo State Command, within a four-year period.
In 2014, the agency destroyed well over 80 tonnes of similar drugs in Ondo State.”
Chairman of the agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd), described the drug situation in Ondo as “frightening and sad.”
“Sadly, apart from this quantity heaped for destruction, there are still tonnes of cannabis sativa we are yet to secure court order to destroy.
“We have also destroyed 1, 418. 635 hectares of cannabis plantations in Ondo, between 2015 and 2018,” he said.
According to Abdallah, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Femi Oloruntoba, Ondo remains one of the six states in Nigeria where cannabis is cultivated in large quantities.
“As a result of cannabis plantations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find virgin forests, thus exposing the state to deforestation and soil degradation.”
Abdallah urged the state government to embrace alternative development programme, through the provision of land, expertise, implement, seedlings, chemicals and buying up the harvests at attractive rates, thus addressing poverty, food insecurity and unemployment.
Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, commended the NDLEA for sustaining the efforts at de-escalating cannabis production in the state.
“We appreciate the grave consequences of drugs and the security implications, hence, the inclusion of NDLEA in the State Security Council. We will continue to support the agency, so that together, we can cleanse the society of drug menace,” the governor noted.
Members of the State Executive Council, the Judiciary, heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, corps members and the civil society, were among those who witnessed the public destruction of the exhibit.