LAGOS – The Special Anti-Robbery Squad has arrested two men for robbery and for allegedly smuggling Ak-47 rifles.
The suspects, Olatunji Olatubosun, and Abdulazeez Amao, were arrested following investigations by SARS officers.
According to the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, the Police had intelligence reports that one of the suspects, Amao, brought in guns from Mali through Burkina Faso and Benin Republic into Nigeria.
The police boss said Amao was able to beat security checks along the routes by concealing the guns in yam flour sacks.
“On Monday, March 10, 2014 around 3am, I received information that armed robbers were operating in the Subaru area of Ikorodu. I ordered the Officer-in-Charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, to deploy his men in the area and one notorious armed robber, Olatunji Olatubosun, was arrested with one AK-47 rifle.”
“Olatubosun said during interrogation that one Abdulazeez Amao, based in Oyo State, was his gun supplier. A team of SARS detectives traced Amao to Ibadan and 10 AK-47 rifles were recovered from his house. He also confessed to have sold several weapons to people in Oyo, Lagos and Anambra states.”
“Amao confessed that he packaged the guns in yam flour sack and brought them from Mali through Ougadogou, Burkina Faso, Cotonou and then into Nigeria.”
Manko said based on the dimension the investigation took, the command might work in conjunction with INTERPOL to bring the syndicate to justice.
Amao, however, denied links to terrorists or armed robbers. He said he only sold guns to militants in the Niger Delta and the South- Eastern part of the country.
He said, “I am 35-years-old. I am from Saki in Oyo State. I have two wives and three children and I am a responsible man. I am a smuggler and my entire family knows this is what I do. I used to smuggle sacks of rice and second hand clothes and sell to traders in the South-East. In 2012, I met one Gbenga Olusegun who told me about gun smuggling.
“Olusegun introduced me to Zakari Watara who is based in Burkina Faso. Olusegun said he would help me get customers if I could smuggle guns successfully and that was how I started.”
Amao said he purchased each gun at the cost of N200, 000 and sold them at N300, 000.
He said customs officials hardly intercepted his goods because he knew how to conceal them properly.
He said, “Watara brings in the goods from Mali and I meet him at Wayalga Market in Ougadogou, Burkina Faso, where I conceal the guns in milk cartons. I then smuggle the goods to Benin Republic where I packaged the guns into sacks of elubo (yam flour) and take the goods through the Oyo State border.
“I try as much as possible not to smuggle too many guns at once so that in the event that customs officials intercept my goods, I will not lose too much money.
“I regret taking to crime, but I made sure I never sold to Boko Haram or armed robbers, I only sold to militants in oil regions.”
The second suspect, Tunbosun, confessed to have bought guns from Amao, but denied being an armed robber.
Tunbosun said he was a licenced hunter, but he bought guns from Amao so as to sell to land speculators.
Amao, it was learnt, was arrested with 10 AK-47 rifles and 19 AK-47 magazines fully loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition.