Operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Federal SARS) has arrested one Sunday Gowon, leader of a notorious gang that specializes in planting of cannabis, otherwise known as Indian hemp inside the deep forest reserves in Akure, Ofosu, Ogbese and Ifon.
In the process, the gang has allegedly destroyed economic tree plantations, following the members have been on the wanted list of both the Nigeria Police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in the last few months.
According to a source in the state command of NDLEA, over 25 tonnes of cultivated cannabis had been seized from Gowon and members of his gang across the state by the command.
Efforts to arrest the said criminals by security operatives in the state had proved abortive until the Federal SARS officers stormed Akure, the state capital penultimate week, and took Gowon into custody.
The arrest of Gowon, ThePost learnt, was made possible through a tip-off by one of the allotees of compartments in the Akure/Ofosu forest reserve affected by the destructive activities of the Indian hemp cultivators.
The allotee was said t have written a petition to the Federal SARS over the criminal activities of Gowon and his gang who had destroyed her allocated Compartments 124 in Akure/Ofosu forest reserve to give way for the cultivation of their cannabis plantation.
It was further gathered that Gowon has been a successful Indian- Hemp farmer in Ondo state with the aid of some government officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources charged with responsibility of supervising and safe guarding the forest reserves from encroachment and other criminal activities.
The petitioner had also complained that in the process of taking over her portion, the Indian- hemp farmers destroyed her economic trees worth over N30 million to clear the land for cannabis cultivation.
This, the petitioner continued brought her loss, as a result of activities of the gang, in three years to over N50 million.
ThePost also learnt that a particular government official in the ministry allegedly gave Gowon support for his nefarious activities in the forest,
The petitioner therefore appealed to the State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to wade into the matter before the illegal activities of Gowon and his cohorts sabotage and destroy one of the major economic resources of the state from the forest reserves.