The Osun State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has urged citizens of the state to join the agency in its efforts to reduce the use of illegal narcotics.
The request was made on Monday in Osogbo by the NDLEA Assistant State Commander, Administration and Logistics, Mr Ganiyu Adeloye, while addressing members of the Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Service’s state command during a day workshop conducted by the Service’s leadership.
Adeloye pleaded with the hunters to assist the agency in ridding the state of illegal drug cultivation after lamenting the fact that some areas in Ilesa allegedly became inaccessible due to those growing Indian hemp.
The NDLEA boss, who stated that Osun is now ranked second in Indian hemp growing in the South West, also requested hunters’ assistance in the area of intelligence that might lead to the arrest and seizure of illicit narcotics.
According to him, good knowledge of various hidden routes and the almost ubiquitous presence of hunters across the state have made members of the group worthy partners for the NDLEA, urging them to be good examples to residents by refraining from illicit drug use.
He said, “If we give no room for people to take hard drugs, there will be a drastic reduction in criminal activities and other vices in our society. That is why we implore the hunters to always report criminal activities to us since they are always privy to information in their various localities and they also know all the nooks and crannies of various communities than the NDLEA officers.
“Hunters have access to information in minutes, what we cannot see in three or four years. It is sad to announce to you that Osun State has been ranked second among states that cultivate Indian hemp in the South West.
“It is a sad thing because nearly all states in Nigeria have airports but Osun cannot boast of its airport, but was ranked second in hemp cultivation and I know our mothers and fathers in the communities are aware of this development because they are the ones giving them land on which they cultivate it.
“You lease your farmland to the highest bidder because they offer the highest amount compared to someone who wants to cultivate food crops. The money offered to you would not allow you to ask for what they want to cultivate. I heard some people are even providing security for Indian Hemp farms.
“You may not know this, but I tell you, farmland that has been used to cultivate Indian hemp can’t be good for any other crop again until after 15 years. Anything planted on such land before 15 years will not return good yield. The perpetrators would have harvested their produce and used the proceeds to better their lives and that of their community, while they would have desecrated our land.
He added, “This is a challenge to us. I am happy to hear from our representative from Ila Orangun that people no longer cultivate Indian hemp in the community. If it is so, then I congratulate the people of Ila. But I know some people plant hemp inside yam and okro farms, we urge our fathers not to overlook such.
“That is not all, the Constitution of the country allows an individual who can arrest anyone engaging in criminal activities, even if you are not a hunter because it is not every time you report to security. If you want to report, the suspects may have escaped before you come back. But if you have the capacity to do so, hand them over to the security agents, the law allows it.
“At the same time, the law gives hunters the upper hand to arrest criminals whether on the highway, in the bush or wherever. What the law frowns upon is jungle justice. You can only arrest criminals after which you hand them over to security agencies.”
In his welcome address, the Osun State Commander of NHFSS, Mr Nureni Ahmed, said the group organised the workshop to discuss areas of collaboration between the two organisations due to rising crime rates across the state.
Ahmed, who was flanked by the assistant commander, Mr. Bayo Oyekanmi, said over 500 members of the organisation drawn from all local government areas in the state were attending the workshop stated the readiness of NHFSS to support NDLEA in its fight against illicit drug business in the state.
“We are ready to support NDLEA in its fight against illicit drug cultivation and use in Osun. We have our men all over the state and we can assist the agency. We organise this workshop for our men to get more informed about NDLEA’s activities and see how we can support the organisation,” Ahmed said.