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More Attention To Illegal Arms During Yuletide

More Attention To Illegal Arms During Yuletide

More Attention To Illegal Arms During Yuletide
Nigerians will need to be more security conscious as Christmas draws nearer. Reason: intelligence report indicates increased arms importation.

Already, security has been beefed up at the nation’s airports, land borders and sea ports.

The preventive measures appear to have yielded results as the police said they had recovered a huge arms cache, including 74 AK-47 riffles, six rocket launchers, 13 rocket grenades and dynamites from criminals and arms dealers in Lagos and Anambra states just under six weeks.

Also a vessel, MV Naomi Corcel, which was carrying 20,000 rounds of ammunition and 100 AK-47 riffles, was seized near Badagry, Lagos.

It was learnt that a task force consisting of the Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency, a private security agency, Global West, and marine police seized the vessel.

The task force also arrested 15 crew members, made up of three Ghanaians, four Togolese and eight Nigerians.

A source said the arms and ammunition, including AK-47 rifles, thousands of live bullets and explosive devices intercepted by the police in the two states “were enough to equip a small army.”

In Lagos State, the police command seized 45 AK-47 rifles, two rocket launchers, 20 dynamites, 21 Dane guns, five General Purpose Machine Guns, 14 Pump Action Guns, 10 short guns, one Lar rifle and two K.2 rifles between September 1 and October 15, 2012.

Thousands of live ammunition for AK 47 rifles and assorted guns were recovered while 48 suspects were arrested in connection with the case.

Mba confirmed the seizure to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Monday

Mba also said three suspects, namely Uche Ukagu, Emmanuel Ezeani, and Chinonso Emeka were arrested in connection with the arms shipment.

On October 10, the police seized seven AK 47 rifles, one Lar rifle, 220 ammunition, one K.2 rifle and three pump action guns, 145 live cartridge, 59 magazines of AK47 rifle and one magazine of Lars rifle.

During another operations, the command recovered 16, 703 ammo for AK47 rifle, 316 cartridge, 391 AK 47 magazine; one K.2 rifle; three pump action, five pieces of dynamite; 145 live cartridge, 59 magazines of AK47 and one magazine of Lar rifle.

The police arrested Ali Kadiri, Victor Alege and Joseph Nnamdi during the operation.

In Anambra, the police arrested one Olise Ifedika and two others at Oraifite with 27 AK47 rifles; one K.2 rifle; two type 06 rifles; one GPMG; one rocket launcher;17 rockets; six pump action; three Dane guns; one beretta pistol; 13 rocket grenades and 12,000 AK 47 ammunition.

Mba said the police also confiscated 95 rounds of GPMG ammunition and 143 magazines, adding that the confession of a suspect led to the recovery of additional two AK47 rifles, one type 06, one rocket grenade, three rocket launchers; 7,700 AK47 ammunition and 27 magazines at Uli on September 17

“One Emeka Ezekudi was arrested and nine chains for restraining kidnap victims were also recovered,” the force spokesman stated.

Mba said the force had strengthened the capacity of its intelligence unit to intercept, analyse and deploy information and personnel that could assist in countering importation of arms.

According to him, the appointment of Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, as the head of the police intelligence department has added bite to the intelligence unit of the force and increased the capacity of police personnel to monitor land and water borders.

The police also said that they collaborated with INTERPOL to track down the international angle to arms importation, adding that itheir peace-keeping operations in troubled countries like Sudan, Liberia and others were meant to get to the root of illegal arms that find their way into Nigeria.

Investigations showed that the suspects, who were arrested in connection with the arms seizure, had confessed that smuggled arms were offloaded in a depot in Badary, Lagos State, from where they were sent to other parts of the country.

A top security source told one of our correspondents that the suspects were being detained at Beecroft, Naval Base, Apapa.

Investigations revealed that the suspects had allegedly confessed that they were working for one businessman, simply identified as Charles.

It was learnt that in their confessional statements, they said their sponsor was working for a permanent secretary in Abuja. They were also said to have listed some officers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources as their sponsors.

The suspects were said to have also confessed that besides using the vessel to steal fuel, it was meant for importation of arms and ammunition.

They reportedly transported arms and ammunition to Badagry five different times in the last three months.

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