A SELF-CONFESSED arms dealer has owned up as supplier of weapons to Hamisu Wadume, the man whose recent arrest led to the killing of three police officers by soldiers in Taraba State.
The police described Wadume as a multi-millionaire who made his money through kidnapping.
However, one Ojomo Gbenga Adebowale, who is currently in the custody of the police has claimed that he used to supply Wadume with AK 47 rifles and ammunition.
The 35 year old suspect told interrogators that the business relationship between him and Wadume started with the supply of six AK-47 and 3000 rounds of ammunition to him.
But Adebowale said he never knew that Wadume was into kidnapping as it is not his business to ask what his customers do with the arms he sells to them.
He was arrested by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Narrating how his business relationship with Wadume evolved, he said:
“I got to know him through one Moses. You know the firearm business involves a lot of people; it is not a one-man business; it’s a cartel and we have bases and we are based in different places like Lagos, Ibadan and Onitsha.
“So, I got to know Hamisu through one Moses from Onitsha. This Moses is a friend to one Dooshima and Delili, who happen to be Tiv guys from Benue State.
“Hamisu is a friend to Doshima and Delili and they usually come from Makurdi, to see Moses who is my partner in firearms business; that was how I met him.
“They came together to Onitsha. He wasn’t my customer, so I didn’t have much dealings with him; I only chatted with him because my business is a mafia kind of business; so I’m careful with the kind of people I deal with.
“Besides, I didn’t want my partner to think that I wanted to snatch his customers from him, so I decided to stay away from them.
“I think the last time I went to make supply, I went to Makurdi, that was six months after we met in Onitsha; we were all together in Makurdi; that was where I got to know that Hamisu is actually from Taraba State, because all along I was thinking he was from Benue State because of his friends.
“That was four years ago when I went to supply Doshima and Delili their consignments.
“Later, I don’t know if he got my number from them; but early this year, I think around January, because I travelled out of the country. I had a problem and travelled and came back that was when they now broke the news of the death of Delili.
“He told me that Delili was dead and that he got my number through Delili because when he called me early this year, he was calling with a hidden number.
“It was when I picked the phone that he said Delili was dead. I was shocked and he said that the Hamisu whom I was not really friendly with was in dire need of AK-47 rifles.
“I think he asked for 10 AK-47 rifles, and I didn’t have that number at the time in my possession. “But since he said he was in desperate need of them, I told him I had only six and four cans because he requested for 10.
“The ammunition is called can. The box of the ammunition is called can. So I said I could only provide six AK-47s and four cans. That was late January this year.”
Continuing, Adebowale said: “since he was in desperate need of the weapons, each AK-47 was supposed to be N650,000, but I sold them to him for N800,000. The ammunition I gave to him was at the rate of N350,000.”
Asked whether he supplied more weapons thereafter, he answered in the negative.
His words: “No, I did not. Later, the Abba Kyari boys tracked me and I was arrested and since then I have not come in contact with him again.”
On how he took the weapons to Hamisu he said: “I brought them from Burkina Faso and I usually transport them to my clients by concealing them properly in whatever vehicle I take to do the delivery.
“We have a vehicle and there is a compartment we built neatly in the vehicle where we conceal these weapons that cannot be detected by security personnel on the road.
“I usually bring the weapons from Burkina Faso and Ghana.
“I took the weapons personally to Makurdi to supply to Hamisu. We supply anywhere. But he comes from Taraba to Benue so I supplied to him in Makurdi. I travelled to Makurdi and Moses too and most times Makurdi is our meeting point. We use either Onitsha or Makurdi as our supply base, but most times it is Makurdi.”
Asked to describe Hamisu Wadume he said, “Well, I never knew he was into kidnapping and I mustn’t know because we are dealers and we deal with different people.
“We deal with members of the community; we deal with farmers and people who are into security. We do so because sometimes the prohibited ones are just out of it. We deal with only civilian guns.”
He said he does not ask his customers what they do with the weapons he supplies them “because that is the business I do for a living, so we don’t usually ask those questions.”
On how felt when he heard that Wadume was arrested and later freed by soldiers while the IRT guys were killed, he said: “Honestly I felt so, so bad about the whole incident. I felt so bad because I never knew he was into kidnapping of that magnitude.”
He said he has not had any form of communication with Wadume since the January encounter.
“No. We have not really spoken because then my mind was not really settled because I overheard that the IRT guys were tracking me so I was very careful about what I did and where I went to,” he said.
“I was running helter-skelter. So, it was only those six AK-47 rifles that he got from me although he has been dealing with Moses and others.”
He warned young men contemplating going into crime to desist because “it is not good at all.” He added: “Truly I never knew I would end up like this. I feel so remorseful about everything that I have done with my life.”