Lagos - The Police on Tuesday paraded a 31-year-old suspected arms dealer, who supplied AK-47 Rifles, general purpose machine guns (GPMG) and bullets to armed robbers across the country.
Parading the suspect alongside other suspected armed robbers in Lagos, the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, re-assured the public that steps were being taken to curb criminality in the state.
Manko said the suspects were arrested following investigations on the deadly armed robbery attack in Lagos on Sept. 9 and the First Bank armed robbery in Share town, Kwara, on Sept. 11.
``The close circuit CCTV footage of First Bank Share, obtained from Kwara State Police Command, was carefully analysed and one Akindele Akinyemi who has been on the list of most wanted armed robbery kingpin in the command (Lagos) in recent time was identified.
``He was lured by the O/C Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), SP Abba Kyari, and his men from where he was hibernating in Cotonou, Republic of Benin and arrested with three members of the gang,’’ he added.
He alleged that the gang merged with another notorious armed robbery group (names withheld) that was earlier arrested in September.
The commissioner said items recovered included 11 AK-47 rifles, two pump action guns, two pistols, 59 AK-47 magazines,1770 live ammunition, six .9mm and one live cartridge.
``The suspects have confessed to series of bank, bullion van and Bureau De Change robberies in Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara, Ondo, Kogi and Edo states. They mentioned this arms dealer as their supplier of arms and ammunition,’’ Manko alleged.
He said that the arrest of the arms dealer was sequel to the confessional statement made by “Akinyemi” and another suspect, from whom 10 AK-47 rifles, one GPMG and 97 AK-47 magazines were recovered.
He added: “5,172 rounds of live AK-47 rifle, 619 live GPMG ammunition and 180 live .9mm ammunition recovered were supplied by the same arms dealer.’’
Manko said that based on this, Kyari and his men began a massive man hunt for the said suspected arms dealer, adding that, their efforts paid off on Nov. 6, when he was tracked to Sea Park Hotel, Asaba, Delta.
“Operative of SARS invaded the hotel, arrested him and recovered his car, a Mercedes Benz 230 V-boot, two AK-47 rifles with serial number scrapped.
``Seven hundred and fifty live ammunition and 14 AK-47 rifle magazines concealed in a specially constructed compartment under the back seat,’’ he alleged.
Manko said the suspected arms dealer also made confessional statement that he imported AK-47 rifles, GPMGs and Rocket launchers.
He said the arms were usually hidden in sacks containing onions sent through waybill from Benin Republic, adding that ``the suspect is now helping the police to trace one Alhaji, his major supplier who lives in a border town between Benin and Niger Republic.’’