Mr. Yoto Seibokuro, a 27-year-old indigene of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, is currently in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Yenagoa, the state’s capital.
Seibokuro was arrested on October 26, 2013 at Agudama area of Yenagoa for dealing in cannabis sativa. He was paraded alongside six other suspects by the NDLEA last Friday.
They are Mrs. Asenitiya College, 50; Mrs. Tari Reuben, 37; Mrs. Penny Gillet, 35; Mr. Simon Obru; Mr. Felix Odalonu, 36 and Mr. Umaru Mohammed, 42.
The suspect, also a fisherman, said he took to peddling the drugs because his income was no longer adequate to support his five children and three wives.
He said, “I am a fisherman. I sell cannabis to augment my fishing business; my income from fishing was no longer sufficient to take care of my large family.”
Seibokuro who allegedly married at age 20, said he had been able to cope with his responsibilities until in the last two years when his financial situation became precarious owing to his large family.
42-year-old Mohammed, was reportedly caught in his house at Miringi Road, Yenagoa.
He denied dealing in cannabis and claimed that the 14.4 kilogrammes of cannabis found in his possession belonged to an unnamed friend.
Mohammed said, “I knew it was Hemp; my friend asked me to keep it for him. He dropped the drugs in my house and said he was coming to carry them. I was arrested before he could do so.”
A native of Burutu in Delta State, College claimed she was a food vendor. The 50-year-old woman denied being a hemp dealer.
College said, “Someone brought the drugs to give to my neighbor and begged me to keep it for me when he discovered my neighbour was not around. I had no idea the bags contained cannabis.”
As for Obru, who claimed to be a civil engineer, said, “I am a civil engineer. I know it is illegal. I do not want to steal, that is why I am carrying drugs. I pray God to give me good business to leave this drug business,” Obru said.
Also, 35-year-old Gillet, arrested at Saipem area of the state, said selling drugs was the only way she could survive.
Gillet said, “The NDLEA officers arrested me in my shop at Opolo. There is no way I can survive without selling cannabis. I started it about a year after I returned from Lagos.
“I know it is illegal but I am doing it to survive. I have lots of financial problems and the drug business has been source of funds. I use what I get to eat, pay rent, school fees and other things.”
NDLEA Bayelsa State Commander, Mr. Frank Hanacho, said drug problem remained a major source of concern to the agency.
He said 21 suspected drug dealers were arrested last month. The number comprised 15 males and six females and that 34.648kgs cannabis sativa was also seized.
Hanacho said, “This is to let people know that there are still drug problems in the state. It is a problem that requires the collective efforts of all.
“It should give us great concern that even in residential places; people still keep exhibits of 14.4kg. They were arrested with above 4 kg each. It is not an exclusive preserve of males – you see women and mothers also.”