Sampson Ebiowei, a 34-year-old alleged kidnapper, clarified that he had purchased his AK-47 tactical rifle from a Nigerian Army soldier serving in Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, who sold him the weapon for N300,000.

Ebiowei, who hails from Ofunama in the Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, was caught by the police with the rifle as well as 88 rounds of ammunition.

During a parade by the police at the command headquarters by the police, Ebiowei noted that he got the rifle and started the kidnapping business after his name was removed from the list of beneficiaries of the Nigerian government’s Niger-Delta Amnesty Programme for repentant militants.

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Ebiowei, who has three wives and four children, said,

I was captured in the Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme before, and was being paid N65,000 per month, but my uncle who helped me to get the job said he wanted to be collecting N20,000 from the money.

However, because I said no, he removed my name from the programme.“In anger, I contacted a soldier and friend serving in Maiduguri who sold the gun to me for N300,000 along with 88 rounds of ammunition. I had bought the gun to fight the oil companies in our place, because they had refused to give us jobs.

The state Commissioner of Police, Philip Ogbadu, who paraded Ebiowei and other suspects, said the command had arrested 26 suspected cultists; 17 armed robbers; 11 kidnap suspects and six murder suspects between the end of January and now.

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Other arrests made include five persons for assault and one person for rape.

He added that the command also recovered 119 rounds of live ammunition and eight vehicles.

According to Ogbadu, the command will collaborate with local hunters, vigilantes, and sister agencies to bring down the rate of crime in the state.

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