Nigeria Festive Season Operation Seizes Tonnes of Dagga

Abuja — Nigeria's Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized more than 14 tonnes of cannabis during raids at forests notorious for illegal cultivation of the plant.

Two men aged 51 and 66 were arrested during the crackdown called Operation Thunder-strike, conducted in the western Edo and Ondo States.

The younger suspect is also alleged to have mastermind the killing of some NDLEA personnel and injuring others during another operation earlier this year.

Six locally fabricated cannabis compressing machines were recovered in the latest offensive.

The cannabis had been harvested and heaped for onward movement to illicit drug markets. It has been destroyed by burning.

Haruna Gagara, NDLEA regional Commander, said the impact of the operation would be felt in the illegal drug market nationwide because about 80 percent of cannabis markets across Nigeria obtained their supply from Edo and Ondo.

"The operation has caused a serious disruption in the drug market and has checked the likely influx of drugs during the yuletide (festive season)," he said.

Gagara said NDLEA would also monitor roads to intercept cannabis shipments. A total of 45 army personnel are also part of the crackdown.

"We will sustain current efforts," Gagara said.

Previous operations targeted the planting and growing of the illicit plant.

Although the product is illegal in Nigeria, the country is a major source of West African-grown cannabis, and ranked the world's leading consumers.

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