Home » Secret Arms Factory Uncovered in Lagos, Police Arrest 32 Suspects

Secret Arms Factory Uncovered in Lagos, Police Arrest 32 Suspects

Two blacksmiths confess to making and selling firearms to criminals in different parts of the state

by Motoni Olodun

The Lagos State Police Command has announced the discovery of a secret arms factory in Idata Community, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, where two blacksmiths allegedly produced and sold illegal firearms to criminals. The police also paraded 32 suspects, including a notorious cult leader, for crimes such as cultism, theft, and illegally possessing firearms.

According to the police spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, the raid on the arms factory was based on actionable intelligence and followed a month-long operation. He said the police recovered three single-barrel locally-made pistols, one double-barrel locally-made gun, one single-barrel locally-made gun, two single-barrel locally-made long guns, 10 expended cartridges, 12 long pipes, two drilling machines, one gas cylinder, one vehicle, and other fabricated tools from the factory.

He identified the two blacksmiths as Musiliu Gbenga, aged 21, and Owolabi Azeez, aged 22. He said they confessed to making and selling firearms to criminals in different parts of the state.

Hundeyin also said that among the 32 suspects arrested was a notorious cult figure known as “Skipo,” who was allegedly involved in the murder of a rival cult member in Yaba, Lagos. He said Skipo was arrested with two 9mm rounds of ammunition, and further investigation led to the arrest of six other cult members in possession of various weapons and charms.

He said the police also arrested five suspected cult members who engaged in a shootout at Church Avenue, Ikosi, on October 13, 2023. He said four traders at Alaba Market were also arrested for producing and selling pirated cables bearing the trademark of a reputable company. He added that a 27-year-old man named Ogbonna Eze was arrested for posing as a delivery rider while vandalizing vehicles and stealing engine control units and other parts.

Hundeyin said all the suspects would be charged in court after the completion of investigations. He urged Lagos residents with illegal firearms to surrender them voluntarily, assuring them they would not face prosecution. He said this was in compliance with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to mop up arms and ammunition from non-state actors.

He also appealed to the public to provide useful information that would help the police combat crime and ensure security in the state.

The discovery of the arms factory in Lagos is one of several cases of illegal arms production and proliferation in Nigeria. In September 2023, the Nigerian Army uncovered a gun-manufacturing factory in Kaduna State and seized 26 weapons, including AK-47 rifles, a submachine gun, and revolvers. In October 2023, the police said armed groups were smuggling weapons into Anambra State from Cameroon.

According to the Small Arms Survey, Nigeria has an estimated 6.5 million illicit firearms in circulation, contributing to the country’s high level of insecurity and violence. The survey also ranked Nigeria as the third most impacted country by armed violence in Africa after Somalia and Sudan.

However, some experts and activists have called for more efforts to address the root causes of insecurity and violence in Nigeria, such as poverty, inequality, corruption, unemployment, and poor governance. They have also advocated for more dialogue and peacebuilding initiatives among stakeholders to promote social cohesion and national unity.

Source: Business Day

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