Ibadan - The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday called on the Oyo State Government to partner with it in curbing illegal cannabis planting in the state.
The NDLEA Commander in the state, Faboyede Omolade, made the call while addressing the media at the Seriki Gambari Forest Reserve in Oluyole Local Government Area.
The agency, in a five-hour joint operation, destroyed a 43- hectare cannabis plantation at the forest reserve.
No arrests were made.
The exercise was conducted by operatives from the NDLEA, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Others included operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) as well as officials of the Oyo State Ministry of Natural Resources and Forest Reserve.
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The NDLEA had on June 11 raided the same forest reserve and destroyed 24 hectares of cannabis plantation.
The NDLEA boss said: "In order to achieve our goal of tackling drug trafficking and cannabis cultivation we need to partner with the state government.
"We were here last week and it is shocking to discover another 43 hectares of cannabis and from what we are looking at, it can extend to about 2,000 hectares.
"If the state government bring investors to cultivate the land for agricultural purposes, it will be occupied and it will also serve as a means of empowering youths for employment.
The commander said that if more youths were engaged, there would be a reduction in illegal activities.
According to her, the forest reserve covers about 11, 000 hectares and agricultural activities will ensure that the forest is not destroyed further.
"We are not relenting in our efforts and we intend to strategise the more while hoping that we get assistance from our foreign partners," she said.