Police arrest fisherman, herbalist for piracy, recover guns
24 Aug 2017
A 40-year-old fisherman, Seth Akpot, has been arrested in the Badagry area of Lagos for allegedly belonging to a gang of sea pirates.
It was learnt that three AK-47 rifles with ammunition reportedly used by the gang were recovered from Akpot’s uncle, Mustapha Sumaila, an herbalist.
They were arrested by men of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in Lagos after a tip-off.
The police said the suspects specialised in hijacking oil vessels on the seas, and also attacked boat passengers and dispossessed them of their valuables.
A source told our correspondent that the gang was sponsored by a rich man based in Cotonou, Benin Republic, adding that the police had intensified efforts to arrest him and other gang members.
“The gang members used the guns to hijack oil vessels from Canada and other countries. They got the guns from a sponsor. The police received intelligence report on their activities on waterways and swung into action.
“Akpot was arrested on July 20 at Ajido town, Badagry. He led detectives to arrest the uncle, who kept the guns for them,” the source said.
Akpot, however, denied the robbery allegation, saying that one Alphanus in Cotonou gave the guns to him for safekeeping.
The father of four children said, “I am a fisherman. I knew Alpahnus last year through a customer called Baba Ibeji. He usually sends his boys from Cotonou to collect fish for him and he would pay me later.
“Sometime in June this year, he called me on the telephone that he had a deal that would earn me big money. We met at the border and he gave me the guns in a sack for safekeeping.
“He told me he was into illegal oil bunkering and promised to give me money. He was not specific about the amount. I took the guns to my uncle and asked him to help me keep them. It was about three weeks later that the police arrested me.”
The accomplice, Sumaila, 58, said he did not know the sack contained guns until he was apprehended – a claim Akpot refuted.
“I am an herbalist. I attend to pregnant women and treat sick people. This was the first time I would keep guns for him. I didn’t know initially that the sack contained guns,” he said.
The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, had yet to reply to a text message sent to him on the arrest.