Hidden deep inside the forest, without any discernible route, somewhere in the sleepy town of Ogotun-Ekiti, Ekiti South-West Local Government Area, is a plantation of a dangerous plant, cannabis sativa, also known as indian hemp. Cannabis sativa is reputed with many aliases which are: igbo, dope, ganja, morocco, eja and weed among others.
Invasion by drug lord
Though usually smoked, the plant can be soaked in alcoholic drinks dubbed ‘monkey-tail’, some people cook food with it, some boil it to drink as tea, while others just chew the plant and seeds. According to medical experts, some of the negative effects of indulgence in cannabis include: liver problem, heart diseases, lungs problem, poor coordination, immune system suppression, reduction of male sex hormones, reduced sexual capacity. It can also cause paranoia and cause short-term memory loss.
Forests of Emure and Ise/Orun local governments are other hotbeds for these notorious drug lords, who are believed to hail from Delta State. They are daily pillaging the fertile forests of Ekiti, perhaps because of its topography for their illicit deal. This dangerous and deadly plant, whose origin could be traced to Central and South Asia, is fast displacing cash crops and despoiling the fertility of the forest, rendering it useless for the plantation of crops that could support and sustain humanity.
Part of the cannabis sativa, when eventually harvested found its way into some dark spots in the streets of Ado-Ekiti, while the rest are moved out of the state to Lagos, Abuja and some northern states. Little wonder, the Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Ekiti, Mr. Suleiman Jadi described the state as one of the leading cultivation centres for cannabis, followed closely by Osun and Ondo States.
Hard drug fromcultivators
The Agency revealed that over 2000 farms of cannabis in Ise and Ogotun areas had been destroyed within this year alone, while it has also seized a total of 1,562kgs of substances suspected to be hard drugs from cultivators and couriers. Jadi said his men had seized several farmlands across the state, with largest seizure in Ogotun Ekiti , leading to the arrest of three culprits, who are being detained.
He said two culprits were arrested for cannabis cultivation in Ikere Ekiti recently, while seven were arrested in Ikogosi for related offences, saying they will be charged to court soon.
“The farm we seized in Ogotun covers several kilometers. It started from the town and extended to Ikeji Ile and Ikeji Arakeji in Osun State. With this, we are keeping close tabs on border towns because this is where the cultivation is taking place in most cases.
Jadi added that available reports had indicated that those bankrolling cannabis cultivation in Ekiti reside in Edo, Delta and other South -South states.