Ten suspected criminals who specialise in kidnapping, cattle rustling and illegal arms manufacturing have been apprehended by men of the joint security outfit known as Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS).
Parading the suspects at the OPWS Headquarters in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Wednesday, Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said six of the suspected criminals were arrested in Nasarawa State while four others were arrested in Benue State.
“Three weeks ago, we had a briefing during which eight suspects were paraded. This afternoon, ten new suspects are being paraded for armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Benue and Nasarawa States,” he said.
Those allegedly paraded included: one Seidu Muhammadu, a kidnap kingpin and cattle rustler along with two of his accomplices. Also, one Moses Dzever, a gang member of the wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, alias ‘Gana’, with one other member responsible for Gana’s logistics who was also nabbed.
An arms manufacturer, Shekwa Terna, who was also paraded confessed to the crime, saying he went into arms manufacturing business about five years ago after learning the trade from his elder brother.
“I learnt the work from my elder brother who had earlier been apprehended. After his arrest, I took over the business. I was sleeping in my house when the OPWS came and arrested me. I sell the rifles to people in my community while the pistols I sell to a client from Onitsha.
“Sometimes when my client from Onitsha comes around, he buys up to 15 weapons at once. So far, I have sold over 50 weapons since I started. But I now regret my action and wished I never went into this business in the first place,” Terna stated.
One of the kidnapped victims (names withheld), who was rescued from Seidu and his gang, told newsmen how he was abducted from his house at Lapai in Niger State and kept in the forest for one week before he regained his freedom.
“Seidu and his gang came to abduct my elder brother in my house but he was not around. When I came out and I told them that I was his younger brother, so they decided to take me away to the forest from where I couldn’t find my way out.”
“They then asked me for a ransom of N2.5 million. One week after I had been with them, they were taking me somewhere in town when they saw a vehicle coming and they suspected they were security forces coming so they took cover. It was at that point that I was able to escape.