Police Smash Gun-running Syndicate in Lagos

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Lagos State Police Command has smashed a local gun-running syndicate notorious for manufacturing pistols, AK47, sub-machine guns (SMG), revolvers and pump actions.

The suspects, 19-year-old Shapraku Umade, Moses Anzuur, and 20-year-old James Tsebee, were arrested at Jakande Estate in Lekki, after they were allegedly found with locally made pistols.

They were alleged to have brought the pistols to Lagos for sale to suspected armed robbers and cultists at N30, 000 each.

In his confession, Umade, who is a blacksmith, said he learnt gun fabrication skills in his community, where they were forced to defend themselves against killer herdsmen.

Umade, a native of Adipo in Benue State, said he learnt how to manufacture pistol, AK47, SMG, revolver and pump action guns from a book he bought, adding that he started the trade with his late father when he was 15.

On his foray to Lagos to ply the trade of gun-running, Umade, who was paraded yesterday by the police, said he came in search of one Miyaki, who bought pistols from him in Adipo, but did not pay for them.

According to him, “I did not bring the guns to Lagos. I came to Lagos two weeks ago with my brother, Moses (Anzuur) to look for Miyaki. Miyaki sometime ago, came to our community and collected the two guns for N30,000 each, but he did not pay.

“So, I needed the money because my wife is heavily pregnant. We called Miyaki on phone that I was coming for my money. It was Moses who borrowed me N20,000 in the hopes that once I collected the money from Miyaki, I will pay him back.

“But Miyaki did not bring the money, but I did not know that he gave the guns to James, who dropped the bag it was inside in the hotel, and police came and arrested us.

“It was desperation that made me sell the guns to Miyaki. He did not tell me it was for robbery. He said he was buying it to do politicians’ work because election was getting closer.

“I am not happy because I have disappointed my community. Our chiefs warned us to never give the guns away to criminals. We produce guns in our community to protect ourselves from herdsmen attacks.

“My father used to produce hunters’ guns-he had licence. I bought a book on gun production, read through it and learnt how to manufacture pistol, AK47, SMG, revolver, pump action among other kinds of guns.

“I usually buy metals from scrap collectors and produce guns from them. Also, our community people usually bring rifles for us to produce. The AK47 rifle I produce, I construct it like SMG but it uses the same magazine.

“In our village, we usually come together to produce guns that we use to fight herdsmen. I dropped out from JSS3. I am very sorry for my action. I will like to learn more in this trade and produce for the government.”

Parading the suspects, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said the suspects have been involved in alleged gun-running for over two years.

“Investigation is ongoing, and as soon as it is completed, the suspects will be charged to court,” he added.

In a related development, operatives of the Anti-kidnapping unit on surveillance patrol on August 15, 2020, arrested one Moshood Tiamiyu, 27, with a pistol at Mile 12 while one Nurudeen Eshinrogunjo, 21, was also arrested with a pistol at Jakande.

Giving details of other arrests made in the state, Odumosu said: “Three armed robbery suspects were also arrested in Ojo on August 16 and two United States- made Berretta pistols with 41 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from them.

“Operatives from Raiders, CID Yaba, foiled a robbery attempt at Ojo area and arrested the suspects namely, Dare Hassan, 35, Ajanaku Azeez, 35, and Clarkson Oritshejubemi, 36.”