Operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Zamfara State have arrested a POS operator simply identified as Mustapha accused of making financial transactions on behalf of bandits.
The commandant of the corps in the state, Muhammad Bello Muazu, who spoke with some select journalists in his office, said Mustapha was arrested in Birnin Tsaba community in Zurmi LGA of the state.
Muazu said two POS machines were seized from him by his team on a stop-and-search mission while being brought from Abuja to Zamfara.
“The suspect confessed that the machines were bought for him by a bandits’ leader and he is only transacting business with people he knows (the bandits).
“During interrogation, the suspect told us that they put calls to him from the forest and instruct him to collect money on their behalf and keep the money with him.
“Then if they want to buy some items such as drugs, fuel and foodstuffs they send somebody directly to him to collect the money to buy whatever they want for them.
Muazu added, “Or sometimes they instruct the POS operator himself to use the money available to buy whatever they want for them. The transactions are usually shrouded in secrecy and are done with only known persons as confessed by Mustapha.
“This tells you that this person is particularly hired or sponsored to be doing the POS transactions for them.
“When the bandits got the information about the arrest of the suspect (their agent) and seizure of the POS machines, they threatened to kill three persons they had abducted from the community earlier if the POS machines are not released to them or if in particular, the suspect is not freed.
“The people they threatened to kill are the village head of Birnin Tsaba and two party chairmen. The suspect had been operating two POS machines and we have asked banks to close the suspect’s accounts.
“We have advised the state government to temporarily suspend the operations of the POS, especially in rural communities.
“From our observation, this will affect the way the bandits are using rural POS operators to make transactions. The rural POS operators are closer to the armed criminals.”
Muazu explained that during the year under review, 711 cases were received by the various units of the corps, with 168 cases treated by the intelligence and investigation unit, 223 cases handled by the anti-graft units, and 320 cases received by the peace and conflict resolution unit of the corps.
He added that the corps recovered N119,724,818 from fraudsters and debtors, and handed it back to the rightful owners.