8,450 cartridges recovered by police

The police in Lagos have discovered 8,450 pieces of live ammunition in 26 cartons hidden among bales of clothes.

A team of policemen attached to the International Trade Fair Complex on Badagry Expressway intercepted the vehicle conveying the items, with registration number XT537LSD, on Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

Apart from the recovered items, which were cartridges meant for pump-action rifles, some military uniforms, an identity card, and badges of the rank of a Warrant Officer of the Nigerian Navy were found in the vehicle.

Consequently, the driver of the vehicle, a retired naval officer named James Korinjoh was arrested alongside three other men, including one Maduabuchi Uche, 27 and taken to the Area E Command for interrogation.

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In a meeting with journalists after the arrests, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Umar Manko, said the recovered items were brought in through the border with neighbouring Benin Republic.

He said, “The cartons contained cartridges of pump-action guns. They were concealed among bales of underwear and other clothes that were brought into the country through border.

“Korinjoh was the one driving the vehicle when it was intercepted. On further enquiry, we discovered he was a retired naval officer and we wondered what he was doing with the ID card, uniforms and badge.

“Already, investigations are on to determine if he actually retired from the Navy. We have also extended our investigations to Onitsha, where one of the owners of the items was arrested. We are still searching for the others. So far, three people have been arrested and they will be prosecuted after investigations have been concluded.”

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Manko warned active and retired servicemen not to act as escorts to vehicles without permission, so as not to become unwitting tools in the hands of criminals.

But Korinjoh, who said he became a transporter after retiring from the Navy in 2010, claimed that he was not aware that he was conveying ammunition, adding that he did not know the owners of the goods.

He said, “When I was called for this particular job, I didn’t know that ammunition was concealed in it.”

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