Food­stuff dealer nabbed with 250 car­tridges

Daily Trust - - CRIME - From Hope Abah, Makurdi

A 55-year-old man (name with­held) ap­pre­hended with 250 car­tridges by the Na­tional Drug Law En­force­ment Agency (NDLEA) in Benue State has ex­pressed re­gret over his ac­tion and is plead­ing with the author­i­ties to be le­nient with him.

The sus­pect, who was pa­raded at the agency’s head­quar­ters in Makurdi, the state cap­i­tal, iden­ti­fied him­self as an Igbo food­stuff trader based in Jalingo, the cap­i­tal of Taraba State who trav­eled reg­u­larly to Onit­sha to buy food items which he re­tailed at a mar­ket in Jalingo.

He told Daily Trust that of­fi­cials of the NDLEA in­ter­cepted the ve­hi­cle he was trav­el­ling 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.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the driver was un­aware of the con­tent of his lug­gage which was neatly packed in sev­eral car­tons be­cause he had boarded the ve­hi­cle along the road­side to avoid the pry­ing eyes of mo­tor park load­ers.

The sus­pect, a fa­ther of five, also said he was di­a­betic, point­ing at a deep wound on his feet.

He ex­pressed re­morse for his ac­tion, say­ing, “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 nor­mal busi­ness.

Mean­while, the NDLEA State Com­man­der, Florence Ezeonye, who pa­raded the food­stuff seller along­side a mid­dle-aged woman and a 23-year-old young man for al­legedly com­mit­ting var­i­ous crimes, said the am­mu­ni­tion ped­dling sus­pect would be handed over to the ap­pro­pri­ate se­cu­rity agency for the law to take its course.

Ezeonye ex­plained that her ea­gle-eyed of­fi­cials on stop-and-search duty at the Alaide area had swooped on the food­stuff dealer af­ter they sus­pected the con­tents of the car­tons ar­ranged un­der the seat of the old lux­u­ri­ous van con­vey­ing both pas­sen­gers and goods to Taraba en­route Benue.

She said 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,”

The sus­pect pa­raded by the po­lice.

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