According to a report by Vanguard, the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of Lagos State Police Command have arrested three Benue State gunmakers, who allegedly supply weapons to robbery gangs and cultists in the state.
The suspects— Shapraku Umade, 19; Moses Anzuur, 19 and James Tsebee, 20— were arrested in a hotel in Lekki area of the state, while waiting to deliver some guns to a notorious robbery suspect who has been on the command’s wanted list.
They were said to have come from Benue State to make the delivery in Lagos.
During interrogation, one of them, Umade, disclosed that he was a blacksmith and that he fabricated the guns.
Umade said: “I learned the skill of fabricating guns from my late father, who died while I was in Junior Secondary School 3.
“He (late father) could only fabricate single-barrelled guns. I dropped out of school to continue from where my father stopped.
“But I developed myself through some books, on how to fabricate AK-47, SNG, revolvers and even pump action. I buy metals from scavengers to fabricate the guns.
“I am not the only one who fabricates guns in my home town. We were strictly warned by our traditional heads never to sell them to outsiders.
“We only use them to defend ourselves against herders who invade our community. Any time herdsmen come to attack us, people would bring their single-barrelled riffles to us to repair.
“During such attacks, the community would donate money which we would use to buy the materials to fabricate single-barrelled guns for our defence.
“A man named Mayaki came to the village to buy four pistols from me at N30,000, with a promise to send the money to me.
“I had to come to Lagos in search of him because I needed money to prepare for my second child, who is on the way.
“Mayaki lodged us in a hotel and still pleaded with me to be patient, while he sourced for money to pay. He later brought two of the guns through one of my brothers (pointing to one of the suspects).
“We were at the hotel when the police came to arrest us. Our traditional heads will be so disappointed if they hear this.”
On his part, James Tsebe said his role was to look for buyers for the two guns that were returned by Mayaki, while Anzuur said he only escorted Umade to Lagos being his first time to the city and that he was at the hotel to collect the N20,000 he gave Umade as transport fare to Lagos.
The suspects were paraded alongside others, who were arrested over various crimes in the state, by the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu.
The police boss explained that “information was received from a credible source that some arm merchants who are based in Adipo area of Benue State were bringing arms and ammunition to Ajah area of Lagos to sell to some armed robbers and cultists.
“Sequel to the information, SARS operatives were mobilised to Ajah to closely monitor the area. The exercise paid-off as three of the arms dealers were arrested.
“It was revealed that the suspects usually sell the guns to their Lagos collaborators. They have been in the illicit business for two years.
“Investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to court as soon as the investigation is completed.”