By Ndubuisi Francis and Chris Isiguzo
Soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu and operatives of the Enugu State Command of the State Security Service (SSS) Tuesday stormed the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Awgu and arrested organisers of an illegal training on ‘anti-smuggling and small arms proliferation.’
Two arrowheads of the training programme were also arrested during the operation which was led by a garrison commandant.
THISDAY gathered that after fleecing scores of unsuspecting Nigerians of millions of naira through ‘application’ forms, which sold for N5,000 each and N20,000 per applicant as training fee, the ‘training’ commenced on Monday.
However, following intelligence reports that the training was illegal, soldiers from the 82 Division in conjunction with the SSS Command in Enugu, led by its Director, Mr. Victor Duru, stormed the camp and effected the arrest of the Enugu State Director of the outfit, Mr. Obinna Onyekwere, and his counterpart in charge of Abuja, Mr. Emmanuel Okereke Osita.
Following the arrest, the trainees who had come from various parts of the country were promptly asked to vacate the premises of the NYSC immediately.
THISDAY sources revealed that prior to the commencement of the training, the organisers had written all the chairmen in the 774 local government councils in the country informing them of the availability of two slots to be filled by them and requesting them to nominate candidates.
Similar requests were made to members of the committees on National Security in the two chambers of the National Assembly. They were also said to have complied by nominating candidates.
It was gathered that the lawmakers were convinced that the training was genuine when the letter requesting them to nominate candidates was believed to have originated from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
According to our sources, when the sham training was being hatched, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) got wind of it and arrested the masterminds but later released them following interventions from ‘higher quarters.’
Further investigations revealed that approval for the training was endorsed by some yet-to-be identified Presidency officials, which made it possible for the NYSC camp in Awgu to be used by the organisers.
Already, the SSS and other security agencies are said to have commenced investigations on how it was possible for the brains behind the illegal training to break into all the sensitive national institutions to convince them to nominate candidates.
When contacted Tuesday night on the development, the Enugu State Director of the SSS, Mr. Victor Duru, neither confirmed nor denied the arrest and sealing off of the training camp.
He, however, referred our correspondent to the Abuja headquarters of the security agency.