MAN ARRESTED WITH GRENADES – THEY BELONG TO MY BROTHER, JOHN SAYS
Minister of Youth Bolaji Abdullahi was mounting the podium to speak when Akpavan was arrested. Aviation Minister Stella Oduah had just finished speaking at the time, while Justice Minister Mohammed Bello Adoke was scheduled to deliver his address later in the day.
He was caught with three smoke grenades and 37 rounds of AK-47 rifle ammunition, the police said.
'The man is in police custody now and investigation has commenced to establish his intention,' deputy spokesman for the Police Force, Mr. Frank Mba, said. The suspect is being held by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command.
Akpavan was allowed to speak to journalists shortly after his arrest. He said he is an indigene of Gora village of Nasarawa State and was a scaffold technician. He said the grenades and the bullets were found in the estate of his late brother Aliyu Clement, who was a mobile police corporal serving in Bayelsa State, and that he was trying to return them to authorities when he was arrested.
'They transferred him to Bayelsa. When he died, I went to Bayelsa. He was living in Isepe in one local government in Bayelsa. My late elder brother's name is Aliyu Clement,' Akpavan said.
'He was serving in Bayelsa State. He came to see his family in Abuja but when he was returning, he followed village. When he got there he fell sick and he died.
'We now send signal to Bayelsa which when we reach there they couldn't get it. The signal stopped on the way. They now gave us another paper. I went there with the wife to bring his properties.'
Asked what brought him to the Radio House, he said, 'My mission here? I'm bringing this thing here (the weapons) because I found it in his property. When I went to go and pack the property down to Abuja, when we reach Abuja, as we were checking the property, we now saw these grenade and the bullets.'
He said after consulting with the late brother's wife, they decided that he should keep the weapons 'since I'm a man and anytime I feel like, I should take them to the police.'
'I'm bringing it here so that we can get his benefit for him. If I had taken it to the police, I might not get it. I am here because of the benefit I have not been paid,' he added.
Chief Security Officer of the Radio House, Mr John Akindele, said the suspect was arrested at the entrance of the premises when he was noticed to be carrying a suspicious bag.
One of the policemen who arrested Akpavan told journalists that the man was intercepted at the gate of the Radio House.
'The suspect was just coming on his way to the Radio House. On approaching the gate, we started interrogating him. We asked him about what he has in the bag and he said he wanted to make a complaint,' he said, asking not to be named.
'I then said he should let me see the content of the bag but he was trying to resist. I had to grab the bag. On opening it, we now saw three live grenades and 37 live ammunition.'
When the news of the arrest filtered through the Radio House, many workers there evacuated from the premises apparently fearing attacks.
Also, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, failed to appear for the briefing he was scheduled to give. The event has now been slated for today.
But officials said the postponement of Adoke's appearance was not because of Akpavan's arrest but because of official duties he could not finish in time for the briefing yesterday.
Akpavan was arrested about an hour before Adoke was due to mount the podium. Already, officials of the Justice Ministry and its parastatals were at the venue, among them Solicitor General of the Federation Abdullahi Yola and Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Mamman Tahir.
Meanwhile, the police yesterday arrested another man, Abdul Salisu, who was found with suspicious items near the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
'When we searched him, no explosive was found on him but there were pieces of broken bottle, bottled water, five Automated Teller Machine cards and a vehicle number plate in the bag he was carrying,' Mba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
'We have commenced investigations into the arrest but so far, there is nothing to suggest that he is a suicide bomber,' he added.