Cannabis planting is devastating land in Ondo state, prompting the  National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to advise the state to encourage alternative farming.

The agency says alternative farming could allow planters move from cannabis, or Indian hemp, to cocoa.

In a two-day operation, the agency destroyed more than 5,000 hectares of cannabis forest at Ala forest in Akure north local government area on Thursday.

Officials arrested fourteen people during operation on the farm.

Two suspects who abandoned their beans cooking on fire inside a hut when they saw the approaching team were later apprehended in a nearby farm.

Over 100 people were engaged as labourers by the agency to cut all the cannabis in the presence of journalists and other observers.

The Ala plantation is about 70 kilometres to Ogbese town, allegedly notorious for  cannabis  cultivation particularly in the state, with the only one access road impassable.

“The northern part is a desert region, with fast encroachment while the south which is supposed to be the hope of the nation is being used for cannabis cultivation and the destruction of  economic trees,” said the agency’s comptroller of operations Sunday Zirang.

He alleged that some of these people engaged in this illegal business align with some influential people who collaborate with them to cultivate cannabis.

“This development is affecting this country, all hands must be on deck, because the situation will affect the whole world with the issue of global warning as a result of environmental degradation”.

“Last year about 72 tonnes of cannabis were seized in Ondo forest zone, now we decided to be on the plantation site for us to see things for ourselves, you can see, there is no standing trees again, we will bring those arrested to justice.

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