The police in Lagos have arrested two men suspected to be pirates. Mustapha Sunmola, 58, and Seth Akpot, 40, were apprehended by operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) at Iworo/Ajido in Badagry.
Three AK47 rifles, magazines and live ammunition were recovered from them. The suspects, however, denied being pirates, insisting that they only kept the weapons for a rich man in Benin Republic.
Sunmola, a herbalist, denied preparing charms for pirates and armed robbers, adding that his nephew (Akpot) brought the guns to his house few months ago for safekeeping.
Sunmola said: “We are from Badagry. Akpot is my sister’s son. He was the one who brought the gun. He told me it is what they used to work in the ship. He told me to keep it that his friends and himself would come back for it.
“The gun was in my house for three weeks before police arrested me. He was the one who brought police to my shrine. I did not collect any money to keep the guns and I am not a member of any gang. I am an herbalist. I inherited my job from my grandfather. I do not do charms for criminals. I only prepare herbs for people looking for babies and those battling ailment.”
Akpot, who said he took delivery of the guns from Alphonse at brickwater, said the alleged illegal oil bunkerer and pirate promised to give him an undisclosed amount of money to keep them. He claimed he knew the said Alphonse last year, adding that he usually supplied fish to him.
Akpot said: “I knew him through Baba Beji. Baba Beji was my friend and customer. He usually bought fish from me. But when he relocated, he introduced me to Alphonse and I used to supply fish to him.
“He bought fish between N25,000 and N40,000 at least three times a month from me. He is a rich man in Benin Republic. I know he is into oil bunkering and he used to send Cotonou boats to Lagos anchorage to load products in jerry cans.
“The day he gave me the guns, he told me to meet him in the water. He was in his speedboat and I was in my own wooden boat. He told me there were guns and that I should keep them well for him. He said he was going to give me big money but did not tell me the amount. He said he wanted to help me because I am a good person. I am not a pirate. I am not a member of the gang.”
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, who paraded the suspected, noted that they would soon be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.