From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The leader of a nine-man armed robbery/gunrunning gang has told of how he got money to buy weapons from the profits of the business he was doing while serving his jail term at the Kaduna State Correctional centre.
Anthony Baye, 44, who has been in the illicit business of armed robbery and jailed several times, said that he went back into armed robbery because he could not get anyone to assist him get a better job.
Incidentally he was granted amnesty by the Kaduna State government only on December 7, 2020.
Shortly after his release from prison, the gang leader who claims he did not get anybody to assist him, got the sum of N98,500 immediately with which he used to buy a pistol.
An indigene of Kaduna State, Anthony said that upon his release from prison, he made inquiry and contacted one Daniel Yewa, who specializes in manufacturing and selling AK-47, riffles and pistols, Azenda Leonard, a gunrunner, Gabriel Yawe, Joseph Idoko, with four others to form his deadly group.
He said yhst the group apart from selling guns to fellow criminal groups engages in various robbery operations and have made huge sums of money before he was arrested by men of the IGP Intelligence Response Team(IRT).
Though he said that he has regretted his act, he did not say whether or not he would go back to armed robbery if he is eventually set free.
In this interview, the Kaduna-born suspected armed robber spoke about his life as a criminal. Some of his gang members also spoke to Sunday Sun, about the operations of the group which have been existing for some years now.
“My name is Anthony Baye, I am 44 years old and hail from Kaduna State. I have been an armed robber for some years now because there is nobody to help me get a better job. I specialize in house breaking and theft and I also engage in gunrunning and sold guns to criminal groups. I have been to prison now for more than five times now. I was arrested and prosecuted for house breaking and theft and sent to Kano prison. From Kano prison, I was transferred to Kaduna prison to complete my jail term. But while in prison, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufal, granted me pardon on December 7, 2020. I was happy, but when I came out of prison, there was nobody to help me find my feet so I went back to the crime. I bought gun because when I came out of prison there was no work for me to do and there was nobody to help me get a job. I bought the guns from the profit of the business I was doing while I was in prison. I bought the gun for N90,000 and bullets for N8,500. I was waiting to collect the bullet from my friend before the police arrested me. On how he created the nine-man group, the gang leader said it was very easy for him having been in the business for years now.
He said: “All I did was contact the people that I know who are willing to join me because some of them are having their own group when I went to prison. I was able to contact all my people and that was how we started operation.”
Also speaking, another member of the gang, Daniel Yerwa, who sells locally fabricated weapons said that he has four AK-47 riffles and six pistols before his arrest.
He said that he has been in business of selling weapons and gets it from a local manufacturer in one of the villages in the Federal Capital Territory.
An native of Kwali, in the FCT, Yerwa, said that he sells a locally made pistol for between N170,000 and N160,000, while an AK-47 riffle goes for N300,000, and more.
“My name is Daniel Yerwa, I come from Kwali, in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). I sold pistol with local riffle. The pistol I sell for N170,000 and the N160, AK-47 N300,000.
I have sold four AK and six pistols before I was arrested and I sell them to armed robbers and other criminal gangs.”
Also speaking, another member of the gang, Azenda Leonard, an native of Benue State, who also trades in gunrunning, said that he got to know about the business in one of the communities in his local government where these weapons are produced through one of his friends.
He said that though he is a member of the gang, he does not follow them to rob.
All he does, according to him, is lead them to the place where the weapons are sold and inflate the price and gets his commission on the spot.