A farmer who specializes in the cultivation of cannabis sativa, has listed outbreak of cannabis disease and theft of his goods as challenges confronting his trade this farming season.
The suspect, Godwin Ijewemen, who is being investigated by narcotics officers in Benin, Edo State, was arrested on October 30, 2018, at Ukpeje village, in Owan West local government area of the State.
The 38-year-old, who is married to two wives with four children, said he had been cultivating cannabis for the past five years, but that the challenges resulted in poor yield and sales this year.
Speaking to journalists on his arrest, Ijewemen said besides the fear of being arrested by NDLEA officers, he also had to worry about attack of cannabis disease and theft of harvested plants.
He disclosed that cannabis plants are extremely resilient and can withstand a harsh environment, but that this planting season has witnessed an attack on cannabis plants by a strange disease.
In his words, “There are numerous problems associated with cannabis trade. This year, the yield was very poor due to attack on cannabis plant by a disease we nicknamed ‘Ebola’. It makes the stem of the plant to develop buds which result in the leaves becoming yellowish and die.
“We are also faced with cases of cannabis theft in the farms. Every year, our cannabis is stolen in our camp but we cannot report. Rather, we deal with the problem internally.
“I did not further my education after completing my primary school. Prior to farming cannabis, l learnt driving but due to lack of job, I resorted to cannabis trade to take care of my family,” he stated.
According the State National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Commander, Mr. Buba Wakawa, the suspect was found in possession of168kgs of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis, and his cannabis farm measuring about 2.102096 hectares was destroyed by the Agency.
Buba added that a total of 20 suspected drug traffickers were apprehended in the month of October, while 11,986.77kgs of cannabis were seized. Those arrested included 18 males and two females.
The Command equally discovered nine cannabis farms measuring 8.5 hectares within the month under review. Seven drug dealers were also convicted at the Federal High Court for various offences ranging from unlawful possession and cultivation of cannabis.
The NDLEA boss assured members of the public that efforts are ongoing to reduce the problem of drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse in the State.
“The Command is not unmindful of the implication of drug use and criminality particularly the various clashes among rival cult groups. The seizures made within the month are encouraging and we are working very hard to reduce the problem to the barest minimum,” Buba assured.