Weapons being ferried into Nigeria through north’s land borders, ACF alleges

 

CAMELS are being used to bring in Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) and anti-aircraft guns into Nigeria through northern borders, North’s socio-political organisation Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has claimed.

The group expressed fear that criminals terrorizing Nigeria would soon become better equipped than the nation’s constitutional security agencies, unless the trend was checked.

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Raising the alarm in a statement by its National Executive Committee Chairman and the immediate-past Agriculture Minister Chief Audu Ogbe, ACF alleged that kidnappers have been building armoury with the ransom they collected from kidnapped victims.

When asked if the breach had been reported to revelant authorities, ACF National Publicity Secretary Emmanuel Yawe said the statement was issued to alert security agencies and the government on the development.

He said the decision to issue the statement was informed by ACF’s observation that the security situation had deteriorated in the north since October when residents alerted the Forum to Camel’s unhindered access into Nigeria.

“Since we don’t control the security agencies, we decided to inform them and the government through the media,” the ACF spokesman explained.”

According to the statement titled: “Our borders and insecurity,” ACF said: “It will do the nation a great deal of good to deal with this situation immediately.

“At the last meeting of our National Executive Council, NEC, in October 2020, our members, particularly from Sokoto and Zamfara, reported that large consignments of camels were crossing our borders into Nigeria with a lot of baggage on their backs on a daily basis. And they observed that nobody checks their baggage and nobody knows what is being brought into Nigeria.

“The question Arewa Consultative Forum would like to ask the security agencies is what are the camels carrying and where they are heading?

The ACF is alarmed that this kind of situation should persist at a time when weapons of all kinds are coming into our country and worsening the climate of terror and national uncertainty.

“It is clear now from what we know that, as victims pay ransoms to the kidnappers, the money is instantly converted to more sophisticated weapons and instruments of death by the kidnappers.

“The capacity of these terrorists is rising by the day and we are not far from the moment when the terrorist will become better armed than our accredited security agencies.

“The ACF wants to alert the government about this situation, if they are not aware of it and if they are aware of it, to ask what they are doing about it. Already, it is speculated that weapons as dangerous as Rocket Propelled Grenades RPGs, and anti-aircraft guns are part of the cargo ferried by camels freely into our country from neighboring countries.

“It will do the nation a great deal of good to deal with this situation immediately. The ACF is deeply worried.”

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) could not be reached for comment on the ACF claim on the alleged infiltration of arms and ammunition into the country through the Northern borders.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, neither picked his calls, nor returned text messages sent to him.

Also, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, did not respond to text messages sent to him. Gen. Enenche could not be reached on phone.

However, a senior military officer, who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, urged the ACF to make a formal report to the authorities if they have credible intelligence instead of going to the media.

According to the source, “if the Arewa Consultative Forum has credible intelligence on illegal movement of arms and ammunition, it should come up with information that will help security agencies to arrest those involved instead of going to the media.

“By going to the media, they have already forewarned those.involved and they will devise another means of moving in the ammunition,” the officer said.

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