The Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (SIRT), have arrested eight suspected arms dealer who supplied arms to the Niger Delta militant robbers that attacked banks at Lekki, Ikorodu, Festac and Agbara areas of Lagos and Ogun state.
The suspects,including a serving lance corporal of the Nigerian Army, were alleged to have supplied arms and ammunition to robbers who terrorized banks in Lagos. The police unit we gathered has also arrested the seven members of the robbery gang.
The crackdown operation on the arm suppliers was led by Mr. Abba Kyari, a Chief Superintendent of Police and officials of Defence Intelligence.
It was gathered that six automatic pump action rifles, a pistol and some cartridges were recovered from the suspects.
Police sources disclosed that most of the arms sold to the robbers were used for bank robberies, kidnapping and pipeline vandalism.
A member of the robbery gang told SIRT operatives, that his gang received large supplies of arms and ammunition, from the soldier. The soldier was posted to Borno State, to fight the Boko Haram sect.
It was further revealed that the soldier used to conceal weapons in food items heading to Lagos from Borno.
It was gathered that the gang, which was also involved in pipeline vandalism at Ikorodu and Ijegemo areas of Lagos, do receive the ‘goods’ at a designated venue known by the soldiers whose account would later be credited.
Eight suspects, Opeyemi Balogun, Ayodeji Femileye, Michael Adebayo, Edward Paul, Bayo Olaoye, Ahmed Mosuru, Olamilekan Omopeji and Emmanuel Ebo, were picked at various locations in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Borno states.
A police source said: “The army corporal was picked at his duty post at Maiduguri, Borno State by men of the Defense Intelligence. The officials received intelligence report of his activities from the police. He is currently undergoing interrogations at the Defense Headquarters, Abuja.”
The arms suppliers were alleged to have sold no fewer than 15 automatic pump action rifles, a pistol and several cartridges to the gang members.
In their defense , the arms suppliers said they never knew the arms were bought for robbery as they were normally seen clad in military uniform.
Ayodeji Famileye, 40, who is the link between the robbers and arms dealer, said that he sold an automatic rifle to the gang for N230, 000 and he has made a profit of over N60, 000 on each rifle.
“I used to demand extra N30, 000 from the gang to procure fire arms license for each rifle sold to the gang. I’m not an arms dealer. I have a friend in Oyo State, Mike. He sells arms. I don’t know whether he is a licensed dealer or not. In 2012, during the fuel subsidy protest in Lagos, I went to Ikorodu to buy fuel and met Opeyemi Balogun.
“ He sold fuel to me and during our conversation; he told me that he was into security adding that he needed where he could procure arms. I told him I knew someone who can get it done for him with license. Last year, he called me and said he wanted to buy two pump action guns. He said it was needed for pipeline security. I called Mike.”
According to him, Mike insisted any buyer must have license for the gun and I told him the buyer would.
Famileye said “Mike sold a rifle to me for N170, 000, excluding the license. I sold it for N260, 000. On our first supply, Mike and his people brought the rifle to Ikorodu. Mike met me, Opeyemi and Olamilekan and handed over the rifles to us. We took them into the creek to meet the General of the camp. We call him Ossy. I saw several people carrying big guns and the General told us that they were using the gun for pipeline security. He also paid me to procure the license for him.
“They bought two rifles on that first deal. They also demanded for two more rifles. After a while, Opeyemi, called me again and said that some of Ossy’s friends, operating another camp at Ijegemo, off Ijegun in Alimosho local government, needed some rifles. We first supplied them two and they later demanded for five rifles. The General of that camp, known as Teekee, demanded we sell him a pistol. I got him one through Mike. I had issues with Teekee and he threatened to shoot me. He was furious with me when I asked about preparing the licenses for his rifles. He accused me of trying to spy on him. I narrowly escaped that day. Afterwards, I quit selling arms to him. I didn’t know they use the guns for robberies.”