How We Smuggle Arms Into Nigeria – Gunrunner

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A suspect named Samuel Michael, who was recently arrested and
put in the custody of a task force fighting criminals operating along the
waters in Nigeria, has revealed that his syndicate that specializes in
trafficking arms and hijacking Nigeria-bound cargo hired a vessel to perpetrate
their crime. Michael, who is also referred to as Logistics Officer, among the
crew on board MV Naomi Corlet, betrayed no emotion while dishing out the
details of his syndicate’s escapade
Other suspected criminals in the Lagos coastline have been
arrested by the operatives of the task force, just as a special operation by
the Nigerian Navy is currently flushing criminals out of the nation’s waters in
the Niger Delta.

According to Michael, MV Naomi Corlet was hired in Cameroun for
a period of six months to enable his gang to have enough time to maximize its
use for their nefarious operation. He specifically named one Charles as the
person in charge of facilitating the vessel.
He said Charles is well-connected and has influence among the
top officials of the federal government including an unnamed member of the
House of Representatives and a prominent lawyer.
Said Michael: “The vessel anchors at Calabar port from where we
usually take off and move down to Badagry, Lagos State, where we have a depot
of sorts. We offload our cache of arms at Badagry and return to the water for
operation. It is through Badagry that arms enter Nigeria.
“There are other locations across the country where the arms are
kept. What I am saying is that only about 20 per cent of the arms stay in Lagos
while others are scattered in different locations across the country,
especially the Niger-Delta.”
Michael said he had participated in both hijacking and arms
trafficking on four occasions with each operation fetching him what he referred
to as “good money”. He said he was on his way to yet another operation in
Cotonou, Republic of Benin capital, when the long arms of the law caught up
with him and other members of his gang.
He said that would not have been arrested had the vessel not
developed a mechanical fault which forced it to a halt. He said he called
someone at Apapa who could fix the problem and the person brought a
power-generating set to the spot but got the shock of his life when he entered
the vessel and saw traces of hard drugs.
Another source in the task force narrated: “The person became
suspicious, given the fact that the gang members were at first reluctant in
allowing him into the vessel. They eventually allowed him because they were in
dire need of his service at that point in time.
“So, when the person saw the traces of cocaine inside the
vessel, he kept quiet and subsequently stumbled on some live cartridges.
Because of the fear that they might harm him and throw him into the sea, he did
not show sign of shock.
“But he tricked them that the generator could not function until
he returned to Apapa to bring a certain component. This was what helped him out
of the place. By the time he got to Apapa, he contacted somebody who alerted
us.”
Michael disclosed that his gang was eagerly waiting for the
engineer when, suddenly, through their monitor, they discovered that they had
been surrounded by members of the task force. This development, he said,
brought untold apprehension and forced them to throw some boxes of arms in the
vessel into the sea.
Michael further said: “I was apprehended on October 13, 2012, in
a vessel named Naomi Corlet which we wanted to use to hijack a vessel carrying
AGO on the high sea. The person who chartered the vessel is one Mr. Charles.
“When we were apprehended by security personnel some ammunition
and gallons of petrol were found on board the vessel. Apart from our sponsor,
Charles and Ademola other known buyers of the stolen products are Ebere, IK and
Abedo.”
Why we moved into
the creeks
 – Naval chief
The new chief of naval staff, Vice Admiral Dele J. Ezeoba,
yesterday said the navy was in the creeks primarily to flush out criminal
elements from the sector as mandated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president had, while swearing in the new service chiefs,
ordered them, especially the chief of naval staff, to end all illegal
activities in the sector including oil theft. Speaking exclusively to
LEADERSHIP, Ezeoba said he was leading the invasion of the hideouts of the oil
thieves to show the seriousness his leadership attaches to the presidential
directive.
“The president and the commander-in-chief, Dr Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan, has mandated us to put an end to oil theft, which is one of the
greatest threats to our economy, and there is no going back. We are invading
their hideouts in the Niger Delta region and whoever stands on our way will
face the full wrath of the law. Next week has been declared a week against
these unpatriotic elements amidst us and nothing is stopping us from carrying
out the mandate,” he said. “In pursuance of Mr. President’s mandate to the
Nigerian Navy (NN) to do all it can to stamp out the prevalence of illegal
maritime activities, particularly crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and piracy
in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the Nigerian Navy will be conducting a
major fleet evaluation. The exercise codenamed Exercise FARANTA, meaning
‘hunting’ in Hausa, from Sunday to Saturday this week in the Bight of Bonny.
The aim of the exercise is to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the
Niger Delta region with emphasis on Bonny Akasa-Escravos axis (an area
notorious for crude oil theft) up to the extent of offshore oil platforms at
Bings and Bogi.
 “The exercise will enable the Nigerian Navy to assess its
operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary
measures to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness. The synergy of
this effort will ensure full mission accomplishment across the threat spectrum with
specific emphasis to immediately end all criminal activities in the Niger Delta
region. The scenario painted with the exercise is consistent with the
contemporary maritime challenges in the country.”
The ships and helicopters taking part in the exercise  are
NNS Thunder, NNS Kyanwa, NNS Nwamba, NNS Obula, NNS Bimtu, NNS Zaura, NNS
Makurat, NNS Andoni, six gun boats, Augusta Helicopters 07, 08 and 09, two
Nigerian Army section and one NAF maritime patrol aircraft.
The naval chief, who spoke through the spokesman of the navy,
Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, called on all stakeholders in the marine sector to
cooperate with the naval authorities. According to him, “those who have
legitimate reasons to be on our waters have nothing to fear because we are not
after them, but those who steal our oil, those who are pirates and other
economic saboteurs of our country are in trouble”.
He disclosed that two other military services, the Army and Air
Force, will be involved even as the NNS Thunder, the ship that would lead the
operation, is billed to berth at the Bonny Akasa Escravos early this morning.
He said the team would not return to Abuja until sanity is fully restored in
the region. He later gave the exclusive photo of the NNS Thunder to LEADERSHIP.

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