Police IRT nab 78y.o father of 36 children with 2 RPGs in Benue
Operatives of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have apprehended a suspected 78-year-old arms dealer, Joseph Okala, with two Rocket Propelled Grenades in Markudi, Benue State.
The suspect, who claimed to be a farmer, was apprehended by the IRT at Ajetachi village, Makurdi, where he lives with his nine wives and 36 children.
IRT said that Mr. Okala was arrested after two weeks of intelligence and surveillance among the 39 suspects paraded by the IRT in Abuja.
The Police Force spokesman, Frank Mba said items recovered from the 39 suspects include 13 AK47 rifles; two RPGs; 750 AK47 live ammunition; 11 AK47 magazines; 30 live cartridges; 58 wraps of explosives suspected to be dynamite; one Thuraya handset; 157 new MTN SIM cards and other incriminating exhibits.
The farmer said he bought the deadly weapons from bandits on behalf of some people who contracted him to procure AK47 rifles for them.
He said: “One of my Agatu brothers came to see me after the death of our youth chairman and he asked me if he could get AK47 and I told him ‘e go hard o’. I told him I would search for it.
“Some boys normally come to my spare parts shop. They were talking about what was happening in their local government that Fulani people were disturbing them. So, I called the boy and I asked him if he could help me with the AK47. One week later, the boy called me and brought these (referring to the RPGs.)”
The police said the suspect was involved in the sales and re-sales of arms in Taraba and Benue State, noting that his activities had contributed to the proliferation and equipping of bandit groups in the region.
The police paraded also 36-year-old Lamber Ntui who was arrested with a carton of dynamite.
The suspect said he bought it from a vendor in Jos, Plateau State, for N70,000 per carton.
He stated, “I was arrested in possession of dynamite and AK47 live ammunition with a Thuraya phone by the IRT officers. They arrested me alongside three others in my house. They came with a suspect. It was at the intervention of the UN that the people who arrested me transferred me to Owerri and from there to Abuja.”
The IRT Commander, while commending his operatives, appreciated their motivation and readiness to win the battle against criminals and criminality.