Police seize truckload of ammunition

THE GUARDIAN Newspaper-Sunday Odita

THE police yesterday intercepted a truckload of ammunition carefully concealed in bags of charcoal.

The suspected owners of the ammunition were paraded yesterday by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, "D" Department (Investigations), Mr. Israel Ajao, at the headquarters of the Federal Anti-robbery Squad (SARS), Adeniji Adele, Lagos.

One of the suspects, a 53-year-old man, who allegedly travelled to Ghana for the transaction told reporters during the parade that the ammunition was purchased in Ghana for N6 million. When police further searched the charcoal bags loaded in the truck, an English Berretta pistol was also found.

He said it was his second trip to Ghana for the same transaction and that he had made N6 million profit after he had sold the ammunition to his ready buyers whom he claimed were vigilante groups and private security outfits.

He claimed that he concealed the weapons inside charcoal bags in order to beat the customs checkpoints.

"I have not been doing this kind of dirty business, this is just my second time. I bought the bullets from Ghana. I was taking them to Anambra State when police caught me. I bought them for N6 million. I usually sell them to vigilante groups and security companies", the suspect said.

Ajao said the Police Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad was established specifically as an apex unit of investigation into armed robbery cases and other related violent crimes across the nation.

He said the three-point agenda of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, "has left no stone unturned in putting all necessary mechanisms in place to ensure water-tight security in the country."

The DIG is a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State Command.

Ajao said: "The effort to rid the society of the influx of dangerous weapons as well as arms and ammunition into the country paid off last week through the intelligence-led strategy encouraged by the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos Annex, Jubril O. Adeniji on February 25, 2010 when a detachment of detectives he deployed to Shaki and Oke Ogun in the border area of Oyo State acting on a tip-of arrested four men.

"The suspects were rounded up at Shaki in Oyo State, a border town with Benin Republic with Leyland truck marked XD-749-AAA conveying about 100,000 rounds of lethal AA & BB 12 live cartridges. They perfected their plans to convey their goods from the border area of Shaki to Akure, Ondo State and later to Onitsha main market for their waiting customers. They were transporting the ammunition and the cartridges loaded in 32 perfectly welded metal drums and cartons of various sizes packaged, covered and disguised under sacks containing charcoal in the upper layer of the truck to mislead security personnel.

"Unknown to them, Fed SARS men had already laid ambush for them at Ago Are area of Shaki following a tip-off from members of the public. They were eventually sighted and flagged down and the driverÉ the motorboy É were both apprehended and were used to track down the dealer É at their waiting point. There was a frantic attempt by the suspects to escape but they were overpoweredÉ"

Ajao said the suspects and the truck were subsequently brought down to the Lagos annex of the Federal SARS where a thorough search was conducted on the vehicle and all the containers and the cartons were opened to ascertain their content and quantity.

"A serviceable Beretta pistol with No. 852665 with 55 rounds of ammunition was discovered in a black hand bag concealed in one of the metal drums evacuated from the cargo compartment of the truck .The men are currently assisting the police in their enquiry and they will be charged to court on the completion of the investigation," he added.


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