The Benue State Commissioner of Police, Dibal Yakadi, paraded the suspect at the command’s headquarters in Makurdi.
Represented by the command’s spokesman, Moses Yamu, the commissioner said that a police patrol team in Otukpo intercepted an ash coloured Toyota Sharon bus loaded with 25kg each of 10 bags of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp.
The commissioner said that Ogwuche was arrested while his accomplice took to his heels, abandoning his identity card. He added that the suspect would be charged to court soon.
But Ogwuche told our correspondent in an interview that the vehicle belonged to a soldier who absconded when the security operatives laid a siege to arrest them at a restaurant in Otukpo, where they stopped for lunch on their way to Makurdi from Edo State.
“We were the two occupants of the vehicle, the driver who is a soldier, owned the vehicle while I was the passenger,” he said.
“The driver ran away and I was arrested when we stopped at Otukpo to eat on our way to Makurdi from Edo State.”
Ogwuche, who could not give a coherent answer as to where he boarded the vehicle in Edo State or whether he was ever acquainted with the runaway driver, said somebody invited him to travel together with the driver.
He refused to mention who invited him just as he denied ownership of the suspected illicit substances, insisting that he was trading in live animals, not Indian hemp.
Only recently, the state commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mrs. Florence Ezeonye, raised an alarm over the increasing activities of Indian hemp peddlers in the state.
Ezeonye said that apart from trading in the illicit substances, the cultivation of cannabis has increased in the state.
She said: “The number of people we prosecute every year does not even discourage others going into the trade. 2016 would, therefore, be for massive and intensive campaign by the command to educate the Benue populace.’’