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They pretend to be cattle rearers and move weapons with the aid of cows — Immigration officer

An arrested terrorist in Sokoto, 33-year-old Musa Mohammed Kamarawa made a shocking revelation last week when he disclosed how he bought a gun truck worth N28.5 million for one of the terrorist leaders in Sokoto state.

Kamarawa, a childhood friend of the notorious bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, who was one of the 37 arrested bandits confessed during interrogation how he had brought sophisticated weapons into Nigeria on many occasions.

The question that bothers Nigerians therefore is how terrorists are able to sneak in arms into the country without being detected by the customs and immigration officials.

Over 1,000 illegal routes into Nigeria

Information at Saturday Vanguard’s disposal revealed that most of these bandits sneak into the country between 12 midnight and 3 am, when it is certain that Immigration and Customs officers manning the land and sea borders are relaxing at their respective posts at the 84 regular and officially recognized routes into Nigeria.

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This disclosure was made by a senior Immigration officer, during an interaction with Saturday Vanguard, following last weekend’s revelation by one of the 37 suspected bandits arrested in Sokoto.

A senior Immigration officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Vanguard that “We have over 1,000 illegal and irregular routes into Nigeria, both on land and through the sea. These criminals come in through these routes, perpetrate heinous crimes including terrorism and go back to their countries”

According to him, “a good percentage of insurgents and bandits who have been declared as terrorists that are in Nigeria today, came in through these illegal and irregular routes. These routes are mostly found in the northern parts of the country. Also, Lagos and Ogun states are some of the major riverine routes that these strangers come into Nigeria, through the West African flank.

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“Most times, they bring weapons into the country with the aid of their cows, through the forests in the northern part of the country, pretending to be cattle rearers. They usually move between 12 midnight and 3am. By then Immigration officers at designated points would have moved to their regular terrain . At other times, the bandits are clad in military camouflage, disguising as soldiers. Most arms are sneaked into Nigeria from Libya, Niger and Chad Sometimes

“The Minister of Interior can not pretend to be ignorant of these irregular and illegal routes into the country. Sometime ago, a former Minister of Interior promised that the construction of a border patrol plaza that would strengthen effective surveillance around borders in the country would be constructed . But here we are, still expecting that to happen.

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“The weapons in the hands of these enemies of Nigeria are capable of withstanding those of the military, if nothing is done immediately. The only advantage the military has over them is the aerial arsenal. But with what happened the other time when these terrorists fired at one of the military aircraft and brought it down, you will know that their agenda is not something to be treated with kids glove. The Federal Government must rise to the challenge and put an end to the activities of these bandits”, he said.

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