By Philip Dzeremo
The headquarters of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), an ongoing special military operation in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, says it has arrested two suspected arms manufacturers in Logo Local Government Area of Benue.
Maj-Gen Adeyemi Yekini, the OPWS commander, who disclosed this while addressing journalists on Monday in Makurdi, said that the two suspects were arrested by the OPWS sector command in Logo, following a tip-off from local informants.
Yekini said that after local sources hinted the OPWS headquarters of the activities of the manufactures, it took them four weeks of surveillance operations to identify the factories and the suspects.
He said that after processing all the information at its disposal, the information was relayed to its sector command for action.
According to him, it was the sector command that arrested the suspected arms manufacturers at different sites in Tine Nune village.
Also speaking, the sector commander of the OPWS in the area, Capt. Samuel Okinahi, said that it was not an easy task arresting the suspects.
He said that several weapons were recovered from the manufacturing sites, adding that the suspected manufacturers admitted having customers in Benue and Taraba states.
He said that the two suspects were arrested on March 24, by operatives of the command.
Speaking to newsmen, one of the suspects, claimed to have studied Telecommunication Engineering in Mauritania for five years, before returning to Nigeria.
The suspect also claimed to have acquired the skills of arms production while studying abroad but lamented that all efforts to secure a viable business failed owing to the activities of witches in his community.
“Upon my return to the country, all my efforts at getting a viable business to do failed owing to my people’s witchcraft.
“Having expended all my resources on other businesses to no avail, I decided to take advantage of the lingering communal crises in my community to venture into arms manufacture to make a living,” he said.
He said that each AK47 machine gun costs between N350, 000 and N400, 000 while a pistol goes for N150,000.
According to him, he has been in the business for two years and has numerous customers both in Benue and Taraba states.
Some of the arms that the OPWS said were manufactured by the suspects inclulded sub-machine guns, AK47, pistols, knives and other assorted local weapons.