By Abiodun Sanusi
…Police to partner Customs to secure borders
The Nigeria Police Force has arrested exactly 297 suspects for illegal possession of firearms and recovered at least 520 calibres of firearms, and 4,023 ammunition since the assumption of the acting Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun to office.
The police boss also noted that the NPF would partner the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies to secure the borders against insurgents, especially considering the political situation in Niger Republic following the military coup.
Egbetokun made this known on Tuesday during a meeting with members of the Police Management Team including Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, and Commissioners of Police at the Goodluck Jonathan Peacekeeping Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“The police also arrested 986 armed robbery suspects, 377 kidnap suspects, 848 suspects of homicide, 517 suspects of rape and defilement, 874 suspected cultists and 5,281 other suspects for various other offences.
“Also, a total of 353 kidnap victims have been rescued, and reunited with their families,” the IG said.
Noting that though there are still prevailing and projected threats across the country, the police chief said the NPF is currently carrying out several anti-banditry operations in the North-East and North-Central zones.
Meanwhile, responding to an inquiry by our correspondent, the IG disclosed that there was a temporary ban on the issuance of gun licences, citing the need to clamp down on the proliferation of the illegal possession of arms in the country.
“We are mopping up arms in circulation. There are too many arms in circulation and if we continue to issue licences on arms, we may continue to aggravate the problems we are trying to solve.
“For now, there is a temporary ban on the issuance of firearms. We may review it later, but we are not issuing firearms licences nationwide now,” Egbetokun said on Tuesday.
The IG, however, noted that the ban might be reviewed in the future.
Meanwhile, Egbetokun also revealed plans by the NPF to commence the mobilisation of the operatives for the Police Mobile Force for the Specialised Quick Intervention Squad.
The IG noted that at least 40,000 personnel of the PMF, would be drawn from across states and zonal commands for the stated purpose.
The squad, proposed by Egbetokun upon his appointment in June, is aimed at tackling the growing concerns of insecurity across the country.
According to the police chief, the officers to be mobilised are “strong and willing strong police personnel who are expected to be drawn from their respective PMFs Squadrons, zonal commands, and other tactical units for the Force”.