By Nwakpa O Nwakpa
The police in Plateau State’s Jos South Local Government Area discovered an AK-47 production factory.
They paraded two persons said to be the factory’s owners.
The police equally paraded 79 others accused of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, gun running, and manufacturers of phony vehicle plate numbers.
The two gun running and manufacturing, according to CP Frank MBA, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), are Joe Michael and Iliya Bulus.
He said they were apprehended by agents of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Special Tactical Squad (STS) in various locations around the country.
He expressed worry that the locally-manufactured AK-47 is becoming the weapon of choice for criminals, a development that poses serious threat to the country’s security.
Mba said the Jos-made Ak-47 is a “masterpiece” that would require professional expertise to distinguish from European-made arms, adding that 20 pieces of the gun were recovered from the suspects.
Mba said: “If you look at these weapons locally-fabricated by the suspects, there is no difference from others imported. Unless you are trained, you will not be able to spot the difference. They use the same magazines.
“We will follow up to track down those behind this, we will continue to deepen our intelligence, and continue to work with other sister security agencies to check the proliferation of illegal arms in the country.”
One of the fabricators, Michael, who attended a technical institution in Jos, told reporters that in the last three years, he had built roughly 180 units, which he sold for N80,000 each.
The suspect also claimed to have learned the talent from his late boss, whom he identified only as James.
Three of the 79 other suspects were accused of allegedly mass-producing and distributing false diplomatic number plates similar to those used by the embassies.
STS investigators nabbed the bogus number plate producers in Ikorodu, Lagos State, according to Mba.
They had a total of 80 bogus number plates retrieved from them.
The Force spokesman said investigations had shown that the syndicate was being patronised by people of shady characters.
He added that the police were in possession of the full list of persons with such fake number plates.
Members of a four-man kidnapping ring who allegedly abducted a university professor, Prof. Aliyu Mohammed, in Zaria, Kaduna State, were also paraded.
According to Mba, the suspects were apprehended near the scene of a recent kidnapping of a Catholic priest in Kaduna State.
Also, a student at the University of Jos in Plateau State was paraded for masterminding the murder of a friend who had given him a loan of N500, 000 for his wedding.
There was also a trans-border gun smuggler known as “Baba Busy.” With a GPMG chain drive gun and 1,600 live rounds, who was apprehended near the Nigerian border.