Operatives of the Nigerian Army, on July 18, arrested an unidentified ex-serviceman in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, but locals under the aegis of BOI Progressive Association, a socio-cultural group, denied affinity with the suspect.
The military in a statement dated July 28, claimed the “gunrunner” was arrested at Boi, a townlet in Bogoro LGA.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was a dismissed soldier from 5 Bde Damasak. Troops recovered 2 pistols, 2 magazines and 8 rounds of 9 mm ammo,” the military stated.
Chief Philemon Kichime, President of the BOI Progressive Association, in a press statement, said they have no affiliation with the arrested ex-serviceman. He added that his actions have no resemblance with the norms and values of the community.
According to him, it is of paramount importance for the association to make it clear to the general public especially that some sections have labelled the actions of the ex-serviceman as that of the whole community.
“The Boi Progressive Association categorically disassociates itself from the aforementioned ex-soldier who was apprehended for engaging in illegal firearms trading,” the statement partly read. “The individual’s actions are solely his own, and he does not represent the values, principles, or activities of our association.”
The association further claimed that the arrested ex-serviceman is not a resident of the area but just a passer-by saying
“It is imperative to note that the individual apprehended for illegal firearms trading was merely passing through our community,” it stated. “He is not a resident of the Boi community, nor does he have any affiliation with our association. We are committed to maintaining a safe and law-abiding environment for all residents and visitors, and this incident should not be misconstrued to reflect negatively on the Boi community as a whole.”
According to the statement, the youths in the area have actively involved themselves in the circumstances that led to the arrest of the culprits, adding that the community helped in providing credible information that led to his arrest.
“Contrary to any misperceptions, it is important to highlight that the Boi Progressive Association Youth Wing actively played a role in the capture of the ex-soldier engaging in illegal firearms trading. Our association, in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, provided information and assistance that led to the successful apprehension of the criminal in question. We commend the bravery and commitment of our BPA youths who actively contributed to ensuring the safety and security of our community,” it added.
The association’s president condemns any form of illegal activities, including the trading of firearms, adding that the community are dedicated to fostering a strong, united, and law-abiding community. He also urged his members to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities.