•He supplied weapons to robbers who shook Lagos – Police
•Grenades, rocket launchers, machine guns, ammunition recovered
By CHRISTOPHER OJI and MATTHEW DIKE
The Lagos State Police Command has arrested the most wanted gunrunner in Nigeria. The suspect, Nweke, 31, was alleged to be the one who supplied arms and ammunition used by a robbery gang that recently attacked policemen and other civilians.
Nweke was alleged to have also supplied dangerous weapons such as hand grenades, rocket launchers, dynamite, AK 47 rifles, General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), among others to bandits who attacked some banks in Ekiti, Kwara and Lagos states.
Nweke, who was paraded yesterday by Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, confessed that one Alhaji Zulo who was on the run imported the arms and supplied them to him in Republic of Benin. Nweke said he usually concealed the arms and ammunition inside bags of onions to beat security agents.
The suspect said he sold each weapon between C300, 000 and C 1000, 000 depending on the type, adding that General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) were on high demand, followed by AK 47 rifle which he was selling at the rate of C1, 000, 000.
The suspect, who hails from Aguleri in Anambra State, said he knew Alhaji Zulo at a motor park at Seme border. Nweke was alleged to have also confessed that he observed that AK 47 rifle could not penetrate Armoured Personnell Carrier (APC), so he decided to import dynamites, which bandits now used in attacking APC. On how he was arrested, Nweke told Daily Sun that he was going for a burial in Awka, capital of Anambra State and he decided to lodge in a hotel and while he was relaxing in a car at the hotel, the police accosted and arrested him. According to him, a search was conducted on the car and police discovered arms and ammunition he was using to guard himself.
He further told Daily Sun that he did not initially see anything wrong selling arms to those who needed them as he thought he was doing business, adding that he had realised his mistake and would not go back to the business, which, he said, had brought disgrace to him and his family. Some of the suspected criminals who bought large quantities of arms and ammunition from him who were earlier arrested by the police were said to have given the information that led to his arrest.
The police gave the names of some of the gang members who were patronising him as Ehianeta, 27, Akinyemi, 30, Runsewe, 39, and Lawal, 55. One of the suspects, Ehianeta confessed that he was among those who robbed a new generation bank in Ekiti State and another bank in Kwara State where they carted away N18.5 million. He said they also succeeded in dispossessing a bank in Ekiti of the sum of N15 million.
Ehianeta said his share in Ekiti bank robbery was N550, 000, while that of Kwara was N450, 000. The suspect, who claimed he regretted his action, said Nweke sold the arms and ammunition to his gang, begging that the police should forgive him, saying he would quit robbery. Another member of the gang, Akinyemi confessed to have also belonged to the same gang with Ehianeta.
Akinyemi said police, who pretended they were gang members, who had arranged for another operation arrested Ehianeta and himself at Berger area of Lagos. “We did not know that it was a set up and we fell into their trap.” Akinyemi, who resided in Cotonou, said bank robbery was a lucrative business, adding that he made over N1 million in the two operations he participated.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Manko, said in the follow up to the robbery attack in Lagos on Sunday, September 9 and September 11 attack on a first generation bank at Share Town, Kwara State where several lives and police rifles were, the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of the bank was used to analyse one Akinyemi, who had been on the wanted list of the police.
Akinyemi was later lured to Lagos from Republic of Benin where he was hibernating by the officer in charge of State Anti Robbery Squad (SRAS), SP Abba Kyari and he was arrested in company with his gang members.