Officials have arrested an ex-soldier alleged to have sold arms and ammunition to warring factions in Plateau state and other parts of the restive north in Nigeria.
The unidentified soldier was arrested in Zamfara state where he was caught by a renowned “thief-catcher”, Ali Kwara.
Kwara, who was appointed honorary adviser on security by the Inspector General of Police some four years ago, said he had made the arrest during an official mission in the state.
The former soldier who is now in custody is famous for trading weapons to the underbelly of the north, including terrorists and some corrupt security officials. Kwara said the ammunitions’ dealer was arrested alongside a Deputy Superintendent of Police who had 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his possession.
Kwara said the suspect was supplying arms to Fulani herdsmen in Plateau state and most of the arms and ammunitions the ex-soldier sold were largely acquired form security officials at a price.
The hunter’s operation also resulted in the arrest of seven other security officials, including an immigration officer and the son of an ex-minister from Anambara state, all involved in the illicit trade of arms to dangerous elements in society.
Kwara said the weapons traded were often used in Zamfara state as well as Plateau and often Niger state in the south.
“There are some sold in Niger Delta while some are sold in Plateau State. The arrested ex-soldier has confessed to the selling of the weapons to both Christians and Muslims in Plateau. The thing has been turned into serious business. So far, we have arrested eight in Zamfara, four in Sokoto.”
Kwara said the involvement of security officials in the illegal trade of weapons is a worrisome trend.
“This will tell you how serious the whole thing has turned,” he said, also revealing that even a policeman attached to a legislator was arrested for receiving arms sent to the area.