By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja, Uja Emmanuel, Makurdi and Kolade Adeyemi, Jos
A local AK-47 fabrication factory has been uncovered by the police in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Two suspects belived to be behind the factory were paraded.
Seventy nine others, suspected to be kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers, gun runners, and producers of fake number plates were also paraded by the police.
The police also yesterday said the killers of Mr. Christopher Dega, a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), who was Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom’s security adviser, traced him to a restaurant in Jos, Plateau State where he was killed.
The names of the weapon fabricators were given as Joe Michael and Iliya Bulus.
Force spokesman Frank Mba told reporters that the suspects were arrested by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS) in various places across the country.
Mba, a commissioner of Police, expressed concern that the locally-fabricated AK-47 was fast becoming the weapon of choice for criminals. He said the development portends a great danger to the security of the nation.
Mba described the Jos- fabricated Ak-47 as a masterpiece that would require extra knowledge of an expert to differentiate it from the ones made in Europe.
He said during the raid on the factory, 20 pieces of the gun were recovered by the operatives, who for a long time, were on the trail of the suspects.
The spokesman 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 college in Jos, told reporters that he had so far fabricated about 180 units in the last three year which he sold at N80, 000 each.
The suspect also claimed that he acquired the skill from his late boss, whose name he gave simply as James.
Three of the 79 other suspects paraded for alleged mass production and distribution of special fake number plates like those of the Presidency and diplomatic missions.
Mba said the fake number plate makers were apprehended in Ikorodu, Lagos State, by STS detectives. Eighty units of such fake number plates were recovered from them..
The Force spokesman said investigations had shown that the syndicate was being patronised by people of shady characters.
“These shady characters get those specialised number Plates and fix them on their vehicles to beat security checks and to enjoy unmerited privileges in the society,” Mba added.
He added that the police were in possession of the full list of persons with such fake number plates.
Also, members of a four-man gang of kidnappers that reportedly kidnapped a university teacher, Prof. Aliyu Mohammed, in Zaria, Kaduna State, were among those paraded.
Mba said the suspects were arrested at a point of the kidnapping of a Catholic priest in Kaduna State recently.
An undergraduate of the University of Jos, Plateau State, was also paraded for being the mastermind of the killing of his friend who gave him a loan of N500, 000 for his wedding.
A trans-border gun runner popularly known as “Baba Busy” was among the paraded persons He was arrested between Benin Republic and Nigeria border with a GPMG chain drive gun and 1,600 live ammunition.
The police yesterday in Jos, spoke on how AIG Dega (rtd) was killed in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
They said Dega, who was trailed to Jos by the gunmen, was shot in the chest many times.
Dega, who hailed from Katsina Ala local government area of Benue State, was commissioner of Police in Borno and Edo states.
Plateau State Police Command spokesman ASP Obah Ogaba, said: “On 31/05/2021 at about 2030hrs, AIG Christopher Dega (Rtd) was shot dead by three yet to be identified gunmen in an isolated restaurant at Bukuru, Jos.”
According to him, from the investigation so far, it appeared that the deceased was trailed and shot.
Ogaba said the late AIG arrived Jos from Makurdi on Tuesday at about 1930hrs.
He said some suspects have been arrested, while, investigation is ongoing.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong expressed outrage over the killing, describing it as unfortunate and totally appalling.
He said the murder was condemnable and will not go unpunished.
Lalong, in a statement by his spokesman, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, said the incident though isolated, was the handiwork of crises merchants who want to rupture the substantial peace of Plateau State and create fear in the minds of the people.
Lalong said the confirmation of arrest of some suspects by the Plateau State Police Command is an encouraging step, adding that more investigation must be carried out to get to the root of the matter by unraveling those behind this dastardly act, their motives and prevent future occurrence.
He appealed to the citizens of Plateau State to do more in being security conscious and pass relevant information to the security agencies as well as using the informal security architecture for necessary action in crime prevention and immediate response.
Ortom condemned the assassination, saying it is a huge blow to his administration and the state.
The governor, who recalled that the retired AIG was very active in retirement, lamented that he was gunned down in such a gruesome manner.
Ortom said: “Retired AIG Dega served with me here and this is someone who has retired but is not tired and was very active. So, for him to have been murdered in the manner they did, a retired AIG gunned down. This is very sad.”
The governor lamented that insecurity had bedevilled “the Northeast, Northeest and Northcentral, Southsouth, Southeast, Soutwest”, and urging security agencies to apprehend the killers.
Facts about AK-47
The AK-47 is perhaps the most widespread firearm in the world. There are an estimated 100 million AK-47s of several variations around the world, according to military.com.
It is a popular weapon among firearms enthusiasts, professional soldiers and terrorists alike.
The AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova, is a gas-operated, 7.62×39mm assault rifle developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the aftermath of World War II.
The number 47 refers to the year it was finished. Design work on the AK-47 began in 1945.
AK-47 model weapons are also cheap in many places around the world. Military.com says AK-47s are usually much cheaper in many African countries because the demand is so high that markets are usually flooded.
The AK-47 can fire 600 rounds per minute in a fully automatic setting. The weapon uses a 7.62mm, high-velocity round that can “destroy whole areas of a body,” according to New York City trauma surgeons.
They shatter bones, tear through organs and liquefy other materials as the round tumbles through the body, often in ways that cannot be repaired.
The worldwide availability and durability of the AK-47 also make it an attractive weapon for terrorists, militias and other illegal organisations.
The AK-47 works well in every environment and will still work even if it falls into water, mud, sand or some other muck.