Force Commander of the joint security outfit codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, has said that the operation is currently engaged in breaking the supply chain of weapon in the country.
Yekini who stated this while parading ten suspected kidnappers, cattle rustlers and illegal arms manufacturers at the headquarters of the OPWS in Makurdi on Wednesday, said the target now is on weapon manufacturers who are the sources of arms manufacturing in the country.
He described the increasing spate of arms manufacturing in the country as an alarming development which in his opinion was fuelling armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country.
“The level of weapon proliferation across the country is alarming and we are doing our best to tackle it by targeting weapon manufacturers as a way of breaking the supply chain with a view to reducing the number of weapons in circulation and curtailing the spate of armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country.”
Maj. Gen. Yekini disclosed further that six of the suspected criminals were arrested in Nasarawa State while four others were arrested in Benue State.
“Three weeks ago, we had a briefing during which eight suspects were paraded. This afternoon, ten new suspects are being paraded for armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Benue and Nasarawa states.”
Those paraded included one Seidu Muhammadu, an alleged kidnap kingpin and cattle rustler along with two of his accomplices. Also, one Moses Dzever, he too an alleged gang member of the wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, alias ‘Gana’ with one other member was also nabbed.
An arms manufacturer, Shekwa Terna who was also paraded confessed to the crime, saying he went into arms manufacturing business about five years ago after learning the trade from his elder brother.
“I learnt the work from my elder brother who had earlier been apprehended. After his arrest, I took over the business. I was sleeping in my house when the OPWS came and arrested me. I sell the long ones to the community while the pistols I sell to a client from Onitsha.
“Sometimes, when my client from Onitsha comes, he buys up to 15 weapons at once. So far, I have sold over 50 weapons since I started. But I now regret my action and wished I never went into this business in the first place, “Terna stated.
One of the kidnapped victims (names withheld) who was rescued from Seidu and his gang told newsmen how he was abducted from his house and kept in the forest for one week before he regained his freedom.
“Seidu and his gang came and abducted my younger brother in my house. When I came out, I told them he was my younger brother. So, the released him and took me away to the forest where I couldn’t find my way out.
“They then asked me for a ransom of N2.5 million. One week after I had been with them, they were taking me somewhere in town when they saw a vehicle coming and took cover. It was at that point that I was able to escape.
“I was with the kidnappers for one week before I was able to find my way out of their den. That was during the last dry season. I was abducted in Lapai in Niger State. And when I regained my freedom, I relocated to Toto in Nasarawa State and was surprised to see Seidu and his gang in Toto too.
Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini explained further that the operation was currently engaged in breaking the supply chain of weapon proliferation in the country.
He described the increasing spate of arms manufacturing in the country as alarming and a development which had been fuelling armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country.
“The level of proliferation we are getting across the country is alarming and that is why we are targeting weapon manufacturers who are the source as a way of breaking the supply chain which is fuelling armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country.”