Three AK-47 rifles found in herbalist’s shrine

LAGOS— Two suspected members of a gang of pirates have been arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team and Tactical Intelligence Unit, TIU, at Iworo/Ajido community in Badagry area of Lagos State.
One of the suspects, Mustapha Sunmola, 48, a herbalist, was alleged to be the gang’s amourer and also prepared charms for the gang. Three AK-47 rifles and live ammunition belonging to the gang, were recovered from his shrine.
Their arrest, according to Police sources, followed intelligence report on a trans-border gang, which attacked boats along Benin Republic-Nigeria route.
Suspect fingers Benin Republic bizman
However, during interrogation, one of the suspects, Seth Akpot, 40, disclosed that the recovered weapons belong to a businessman in Benin Republic.
Akpot, in his confessional statement, denied being a pirate. Rather, he claimed that the weapons were handed to him by the businessman whose identity he gave simply as Alphones.
He said: “I am a fisherman, not a pirate. I met one man named Alphonse last year through Baba Ibeji, a customer that bought fish from me. When he (Baba Beji) relocated, I started selling fish to Alphonse.
“He bought between N25,000 and N40,000 worth of fish, three times a month, from me. He is a rich man in Benin Republic. I know he is into oil bunkering because he used to send boats from Cotonou to Lagos to load products in jerry cans.
“One day, he handed me a bag containing three guns, from his speed boat. He actually told me they were guns and begged me to help him keep them, with a promise to pay me.
“But he did not mention how much he would pay me for keeping them; he only said he wanted to help me, that I was a good person. I transferred the guns from his speed boat into my boat and took them to my maternal uncle’s (pointing to the herbalist) place because I didn’t know where else to keep them.”
My sister’s son brought the guns
—Herbalist
On his part, the herbalist also denied preparing charms for the gang. He admitted to have collected the weapons from his nephew who he said promised to come for them later.
He said: “My sister’s son brought the guns. He said they used it to work in the ship and promised to come with his friend to collect them.
“But to my surprise, three weeks later, he led policemen to my shrine where the guns were kept. I am not a member of any robbery gang; neither do I prepare charms for any gang. Yes, I am a herbalist; I prepare herbs to cure strange ailments as well as for those looking for the fruit of the womb.”
Police sources hinted that the suspects will be charged to court soon, while effort was still on to arrest their alleged sponsor.

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