The Ujiogba Forest Reserve in Esan West LGA, Edo, was stormed by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) agents, who destroyed five hectares of skunk plantation and 7,286 kilograms of the plant.
Femi Babafemi, the head of media and advocacy at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, claims that the special operation that was carried out on February 22 was prompted by credible information that some cartels had stored hundreds of jumbo bags of the illegal substance within the thick forest of the reserve for distribution to some states prior to the general elections.
“The operation could however not proceed immediately until after several roadblocks set up by armed guards of the drug lords were cleared and they were overpowered by the superior firepower of Strike Force officers of the agency in a gun duel,” Babafemi stated.
“After the initial resistance, two rifles, spent gun cartridges, and an empty AK47 shell were found, and a 24-year-old suspect named Calvary Essien was taken into custody.
“After the gunfight, the NDLEA agents in large numbers successfully entered a large zinc-and-wood warehouse with 100 3.2-ton jumbo bags of cannabis sativa, 5,000 65-ton bags of cannabis, and 137 4.66-ton bags of cannabis seeds, for a total of 72.86 tons. The remainder of the warehouse was set ablaze, and seven bags of cannabis and one bag containing its seeds were removed for additional investigation and prosecution of suspects.
In addition, Babafemi mentioned that this follows a similar incident that occurred on January 18 in the Opuje forest in the Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State. Over the course of two days, massive warehouses and tents containing over 317,417 kilograms of the psychoactive substance were destroyed and set ablaze.
“At least, a police impersonator, Omoruan Theophilus, 37, who was parading as a police Inspector to convey the drugs from the forests to the cities and three others Aigberuan Jacob, 42, Ekeinde Zaza, 53, and Naomi Ohiewere, 42, were arrested in connection with the drugs,” he continued.