Horror was let loose on a cocoa farmland in Bolorunduro, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State at the weekend as suspected Indian hemp barons attacked a family, threatening to wipe out the entire household.Horror was let loose on a cocoa farmland in Bolorunduro, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State at the weekend as suspected Indian hemp barons attacked a family, threatening to wipe out the entire household.
The Guardian gathered that the hoodlums swooped on the farm over an alleged disappearance of the illicit Indian hemp kept in the farm belonging to one Augustine Christopher.
It was learnt that over 40 suspected Indian hemp merchants stormed the farm on motorcycles and armed with dangerous weapons, demanding the whereabouts of their products.
According to eyewitnesses, a labourer, Isaac Akpan, who was working on the farm with the owner, was whisked away by the bandits. They accused him of stealing their bags of Indian hemp, and threatened to kill him if he did not produce them.
The victim’s younger sister, Mrs. Martina Christopher, who saw the hoodlums abducting her brother, traced him to a neighbouring community, Ilu-abo.
Recounting her experience, Martina said: “I went to the farm very late on the fateful day because I just had a miscarriage and was tired but decided to join my husband and brother at the farm because we had left the farm unattended to for some day due to my father in-law’s burial.
“I met these people, about 40 of them on 15 motorcycles, but when I saw my brother who had been beaten and injured, I had to turn back and was told he had been taken to Ilu-abo. I went there with our father, only to find my brother has been beaten and injured.
“Immediately they saw us, they descended on us and beat my father to coma, demanding to know where the bags of Indian hemp were kept. My father fainted and as I tried to touch him, they macheted me while some of them beat me with sticks. I fainted because I had lost a lot of blood,” she said.
She lamented that the hoodlums threatened to wipe out the whole family if they failed to produce the bags of Indian hemp, boasting that no security operatives could arrest them. Martina revealed that the suspected Indian hemp merchants invited officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) “who advised them to hand us over to the police.”
She added that her husband and the Akwa Ibom community in the area reported the case to the police after reviving her and taking her to the hospital for treatment. Her husband, Christopher, aged 42, who asserted their innocence, said he had to report the case at the Area Command in Oba-Ile due to the threats from the Indian hemp moguls.
“We are cocoa farmers and have nothing to do with Indian hemp. I am calling on the security agents to fish out these people, though two of them have been arrested. We still have many of them across the communities in Ogbese, Bolorunduro and other communities around here who have been a pain in the neck of ordinary farmers,” he said.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, who confirmed the incident, noted that the police have ordered the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Joseph also confirmed that some arrests had been made while investigation had begun into the matter, assuring that the command would step up measures to prosecute the culprits.