The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Zamfara State has arrested a POS operator, identified as one Mustapha, who was allegedly hired by bandits for financial transactions. According to the Zamfara NSCDC Commandant, Muhammad Muazu, Mustapha was arrested in Birnin Tsaba Community in Zurmi LGA of the state.
He further revealed that two POS machines were recovered from the suspect by his team during a stop-and-search operation.“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. Or sometimes they instruct the POS operator himself to use the money available to buy whatever they want. The transactions are usually shrouded in secrecy and are done with only known persons as confessed by Mustapha,” he stated.
“This tells you that this person is particularly hired or sponsored to be doing the POS transactions for them,” he added.He further revealed that the bandits threatened to kill some abducted victims in their custodey after learning of the arrest of their POS operator, adding that the village head and two party chairmen were among those listed to be killed.“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.”