Home News Police intercept 34,865 live cartridges from Togo, arrest three

Police intercept 34,865 live cartridges from Togo, arrest three

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An Onitsha-bound truck conveying 34,865 live cartridges bound has been intercepted by Operatives of the Ogun State Police Command.

The truck was coming from Republic of Togo and entered Nigeria through Ilara, an Ogun State border community with the neighbouring Republic of Benin.

It contained 34,865 live cartridges for onward movement to Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Southeast, when operatives accosted it.

Three suspects including a Togolese, Isa Muhammad and two Nigerians- Alabi Fayemi and Seyi Bamgbose- have been arrested in connection with the cartridges.

The truck and suspects were arrested following stop-and-search operations by Police border patrol team at Olohunda, a border town between Abeokuta North and Imeko Afon Local Government Area of the State.

Speaking at the Imeko Police Station on Saturday, Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, said the suspects were arrested by border patrol led by an Assistance Commissioner of Police, Shettima Muhammad.

Iliyasu added that the cartridges were nearly hidden at depth of the truck marked Lagos KSF 254 XX.

The Police Commissioner revealed that suspects attempted to bribe the officers into compromising their duty but they turned the overtures, saying operatives have been on the trail of the cartel over six months ago.

But Isa Muhammad, the prime suspect, told reporters that the vehicle was given to him by one of his Nigerian customers based in Onitsha to help drive.

Isa said since he doesn’t have a valid driver’s licence, he engaged a friend, Bamgbose, a qualified driver to move the vehicle while he serves as motor boy.

According to him, the vehicle was successfully brought into Nigeria from Republic of Togo and heading Abeokuta for a repair work on it when they were arrested by the Police.

Isa said: “I am 36 years old, I was a bus conductor but I told the man who introduced me to the job to get me acquainted if he gets a better job for me.

“He later 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.

“When he called me that the vehicle was available, I called this my friend (pointing to Seyi) so that we can venture into Charcoal business.

“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 are suspecting the vehicle but we said we don’t know anything about it, we thought it was the documents they are talking about.

“I don’t know the owner of the motor but he comes to Togo to buy vehicles and okirika (used clothes) and when he gave me the vehicle.

“He said we should bring it to Onitsha and call him when we get there. We were not aware that anything was concealed in the vehicle we thought we were driving an empty vehicle.

“Our understanding was that when we get to Onitsha, we will be doing the real job.

“I have called him immediately we were arrested and he spoke with the police.”

Bamgbose said he was only called by Isa for collaborative charcoal business and knew nothing the cartridges.

“I know Isa in Idi Iroko border and he used to sleep in my house whenever they come to Nigeria with his boss.

“One day I told him I don’t have a job again because my vehicle was seized by the Customs.

“Recently, he called me that a vehicle is available and I was happy because he told me it was a new vehicle.

“We went to Togo where the vehicle was packed, I observed that the vehicle was registered with Nigeria number.

“When we got to Nigeria, some of my friends told me that the spring of the vehicle was too small for charcoal business and I told him we should go to Abeokuta to repair the vehicle.

“While on the way, we were arrested at Imala and when I was asked to park, I complied because I know all the officers and I was sure the documents were up to date.

“I was even expecting the police to name their price since I know all of them but the story was different.

“Initially I thought the vehicle documents were not genuine but they told us later in the day that there was Indian hemp and ammunitions in the vehicle and I stated laughing because it was an empty vehicle.

“We were taken to the Station, this morning and even when we got to the station, I insisted it was an empty vehicle but when they started offloading, I was equally astonished.

“I didn’t expect what I saw from the vehicle because it was right in our presence that the contents of the vehicle were offloaded.”

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