Operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested a man with 250 cartridges hidden in several cartons in Benue State.
The suspect is identified as a 55-year-old foodstuff trader based in Jalingo, Taraba State who traveled regularly to Onitsha to buy food items which he sells at a market in Jalingo. He told Daily Trust that officials of the NDLEA intercepted the vehicle he was traveling in at Alaide in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
“I was returning from Onitsha where I went to buy foodstuff which I sell in Taraba when the NDLEA officers arrested me in Alaide with cartons of cartridges which some vigilante groups asked me to buy for them,” the suspect said.
The suspect, a father of five, also said he was diabetic, pointing at a deep wound on his feet, expressed regret for his action. “I’m so embarrassed. My wife and children are not happy with me.”
The suspect added that it was the first time he ventured into the arms business which he procured from Onitsha market at the rate of N45, 000 after buying food stuff for his main business.
The NDLEA State Commander, Florence Ezeonye, said the suspect would be handed over to the appropriate security agency. On how the suspect was caught, Ms Ezeonye explained that her eagle-eyed officials on stop-and-search duty at the Alaide area nabbed the foodstuff dealer after they suspected the contents of the cartons arranged under the seat of the bus. She also revealed that the suspect had a mixed parentage – an Igbo father and a Jukun mother – so he could speak Hausa and Igbo languages fluently, an advantage which he used to ward-off security suspicions at check points.
“My officers noticed that he was pushing the cartons which he hid under the vehicle seats with his feet as they were searching luggage and when they insisted on knowing what was concealed in the cartons, he alighted and started engaging them in Hausa language. The suspect further tried to convince them that he only supplies soup ingredients to customers in Taraba but it turned out that he was carrying arms. My men found out that 250 pieces of cartridges were concealed in the 15 cartons belonging to the suspect.” she said.