The community is notorious for cannabis cultivation and trafficking as well as attacks on law enforcement officers.
But with the support of the combatant military personnel, the NDLEA officials were able to overcome resistance from the drug trafficking syndicates and in a raid that lasted from Thursday night to Friday night, recovered what has been described as the largest single concentration of cannabis seizure yet in the history of the agency.
The State Commander of NDLEA, Buba Wakama said 318 bags of 80kg each weighing 25,440kg, 15,853 bags of 13kg weighing 206,089kg of cannabis were seized from warehouses built in deep forests during the nearly 24 hours raid.
The seizures have have estimated street value of over N1.4 billion.
In Wakama words, “They planted, watered, harvested and processed the drug only for us to dispossessed them of their labour because their action is criminal.
“The warehouses are located in the heart of the forest, yet we were able to uncover them, based on intelligence gathering.”
NDLEA also arrested the Chairman of a vigilante group and six others, suspected to be dealers of cannabis sativa.
The suspected drug barons include the chairman of vigilante in Ukpuje, Emmanuel Oki (62), Chief Odi Sabato (42), Bright Inemi Edegbe (53), Gowon Ehimigbai (53), Enodi Ode (37), Ayo Oni (30) and Akhime Benjamin (43).
Wakama said, “The community that is notorious for cannabis cultivation and trafficking as well as attacks on law enforcement officers, stood still as a combined team of NDLEA and combatant military personnel overran the drug trafficking syndicates due to our superior fire power.
“We took delivery of two new Hilux operational vehicles presented to the command last week. This is the first assignment of the vehicles and it turned out to be the best for the command. We are grateful to the chairman, and this is a clear warning that there is no room for drug barons in the State.”
Wakawa thanked the Four Brigade Commander in Benin City, Brigadier General, M. A. Sadik for the logistics and personnel assistance that led to the successful clampdown on the cannabis syndicates.
He described the synergy between the Nigerian Army and NDLEA in the state as an unbeatable force against drugs and related crime in the society.