The Nigerian police has intercepted a mini truck conveying 34,865 live cartridges from the neighbouring Republic of Togo through a boarder town in Ogun.
The consignment according to the Police was headed for Onitsha, in Anambra state. The command also said that it had arrested three suspects including a Togolese, Isa Muhammad and two Nigerians, Alabi Fayemi and Seyi Bamgbose, in connection with the incident.
The state commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, presented the suspects to newsmen at Imeko Police Station, on Saturday. He said the truck and the suspects were arrested on Friday by a Stop-and-search border patrol team at Olohunda, a border town between Abeokuta North and Imeko Afon local government areas of the State.
Iliyasu said the cartridges were neatly concealed inside the truck with registration number KSF 254 XX and was being transported to Onitsha in Anambra State. The Police Commissioner said the suspect offered financial inducement to the officers but rejected it, adding “the extant laws of the land will be invoked on them” (the suspects).
“Our operatives on border patrol led by ACP Shettima Muhammad while on routine patrol of the border area on Friday, based on intelligence report, intercepted a Toyota Dyna Mini truck with registration number KSF 254 XX with some cartons neatly concealed therein.
The mode of the concealment aroused the suspicion of our men, who stopped the vehicle and properly searched it. Upon the search, 34, 865 live cartridges were discovered in cartons neatly concealed inside the vehicle,” he said.
Iliyasu explained that the police have commenced further investigations into the matter and would soon charge the suspects to court. Muhammad, who is the prime suspect, told journalists that one of his Nigerian customers based in Onitsha gave him the vehicle to help him drive. Isa said he had to approach another friend, Bamgbose, who had a valid driving licence to drive while he (Mohammed) served as a motor boy.
He explained that after getting to Nigeria, they were enroute Abeokuta, Ogun capital, for a repair work on the vehicle before they were arrested by the police. Mohammed, who denied knowledge of the ammunition inside the truck, said he could have taken the truck to Onitsha thinking it was empty.
He, however, could not give the name of the person, who gave him the truck.
“I am 36 years old and a bus conductor. A friend called me that he has one small vehicle but I told him that I don’t have a driver’s license but I have some of my friends that can drive.
We took the vehicle from Togo and when we got to Nigeria, Seyi said the spring was too small for charcoal business and we were taking it to Abeokuta to fix the spring. “On our way, the Police stopped us and said they suspected the vehicle.
I don’t know the owner of the motor but he usually come to Togo to buy vehicles and okirika (used cloths) and when he gave me the vehicle, he said I should bring it to Onitsha and call him when I get there. We were not aware that anything was concealed in the vehicle. We thought we were driving an empty vehicle. I have called the owner immediately we were arrested and he spoke with the police,” he said.