Men of the Ondo State Police Command have arrested 150 middle-aged men suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
The suspects, who were in possession of arms and ammunition, were being conveyed in a truck with registration number Kano NSR 97 XZ before they were intercepted by the policemen at Lipakala Junction in Ondo town. The truck was heading towards Ore, in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state .
The suspects were initially detained at the Fagun Police Division before they were transferred to the headquarters of the command in Akure, the state capital.
Some of the items found inside the vehicle of the suspects included locally-made guns, knives, cutlasses and several torch lights .
One of the suspects, who identified himself as Abdulahi Sheriff, claimed that they were not Boko Haram members but farmers coming from Benin-Kebbi to seek greener pasture in Ore town.
He added that their relocation from the North was due to the harsh and dry season in their area which had negatively affected their activities as farmers.
The police spokesperson in the state, Mr. Femi Joseph, who confirmed the arrest, told our correspondent that the suspects claimed they were not terrorists but farmers who were travelling from Kebbi State to work in Ondo State.
Joseph said, “We discovered in our findings that the men are not Boko Haram members. Some of them engage in trading while some of them were going to Ore to do menial jobs. There is nothing that indicated that they are members of Boko Haram.”
On the issue of arms found in their vehicle, the Police Public Relations Officer explained that some of the suspects who were hunters were the owners of the guns and other weapons.
The police spokesperson, however, said the suspects would not be released until the command completed investigation into the matter.
He said, “We have to be completely sure that they are not members of the Boko Haram sect before we can allow them to go.”