A Nigerian Army personnel, Sanni Mohammed, has been arrested with two boxes containing about 2,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, those familiar with the matter have told PREMIUM TIMES.
The soldier, a lance corporal, was arrested at the Borno Express park in Maiduguri on Monday by officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) as he was about to board a bus to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
NURTW officials later handed the suspect to the police.
According to our sources, the soldier, attached to 198 Special Forces Battalion, had just been relieved from duties at Damasak town in Borno State, after recently obtaining a sick report.
When interrogated by the police, Mr Mohammed claimed he sourced the ammunition from a broken-down vehicle in his unit.
Other items found in his possession were a three-day excuse duty and two reports of hospital test. The army has since told the police that the soldier was not issued a pass or given medical leave to travel.
A military insider said the army is waiting on the police to hand over the soldier to it for a detailed investigation of the matter.
The spokesperson for the Borno State Police Command, Edet Okon, declined to comment for this story, saying he would speak to reporters based in Borno. His boss, Force Spokesperson Frank Mba neither responded to telephone calls nor replied to text messages.
The soldier’s arrest came about a month after the Zamfara State Government said a Nigerian soldier and his girlfriend were caught supplying ammunition and military uniforms to armed bandits in the state.
Bashir Maru, the deputy chief of staff to Governor Bello Matawalle, said at a press conference on March 5 that the soldier was arrested by the military through community-driven intelligence.
He, however, did not provide more details of the alleged incident, saying the state government was waiting for the military authorities to do so.
Almost a month after, no further details have been provided on the matter.
The proliferation of illegal weapons has been identified as one of the major reasons for the widespread insecurity across Nigeria with many killed and kidnapped on daily basis.
Politicians have often been accused of being behind the proliferation of illegal firearms around the nation.
A former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, said on Wednesday that there are over six million illegal weapons in circulation around the country.
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