The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Osun State said it had arrested, a 29-year-old palm wine taper and his wife, for allegedly cultivating 10 hectares of Indian hemp farm.
The state Commander of the agency, Mrs. Anthonia Ndu, made this known while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Osogbo on Monday.
Ndu said the suspects were arrested on the farm situated at Oke Olabede Reserve Forest near Ikeji-Ile in Oriade Local Government Area of the state on September 11.
She alleged that the suspect’s wife had earlier been convicted and sentenced to two-year jail in 2011 for trafficking in Indian hemp in Ilesa.
Ndu said, “He has been on our wanted list since that time and the agency through its intelligence gathering, located the 10 hectares of cannabis sativa farm at Oke Olabede reserve forest.
“We met the two suspects on the farm and they were arrested before our men destroyed the Indian hemp farm.”
Ndu said another 30 hectares of Indian hemp farm was also destroyed on August 5, at Oloro-Arinkinki Forest Reserve in Isokan Local Government Area of the state.
The commander called on the state government to monitor all the forest reserves across the state to curb the activities of illegal occupants.
She observed that cultivation of Indian hemp had been on the rise in the area because culprits had free access to the forest reserves.
According to her, most of the Indian hemp farms the agency discovered in recent times are in forest reserves.
She reiterated the commitment of the agency toward ending the activities of the Indian hemp cultivators and traffickers in the state.
She solicited the assistance of the public, especially hunters to feed the agency with information to enable it to discharge its duties.
The suspect later told NAN that he ventured into the cultivation of Indian hemp to raise money for the burial ceremony of his father in 2013.
He said, “My father died early this year and the burial ceremony is slated for February 2013 at Kwale in Delta.
“I venture into Indian hemp cultivation because it is not possible to raise enough money through palm wine tapping and farming. I also decided to cultivate Indian hemp because it matures within six months and highly profitable.”