By Daye Oyewo
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, has said there is increasing local expertise on firearms fabrication by criminal elements in the state.
He disclosed this on Wednesday at the unveiling of the state command Complaint Response Unit by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
Owohunwa said the firearms include replicas of foreign-made pistols, AK47s and other assault rifles.
The police boss added that the trend, coupled with the rise in cultism activities, poses a potent danger to the security space in the state.
He said, “We are also constantly confronted with the challenge of dissecting and dealing with the thin line between the civil and criminal dynamics of land disputes which are also prevalent in the state. Also of routine concern is the traffic gridlock and the attendant occasional traffic robberies which are compounded by ongoing road projects across the state including, in particular, the Lagos-Ibadan highway. The crime profile of the state is further accentuated by the prevalence of illegal firearms, illicit drug abuse and traffic robberies.
“Hardly does a day pass by without the ever-vigilant operatives of the command recovering weapons and illicit drugs of various descriptions at stop and search points, raids of black spots and other operational engagements; with all such recoveries linked to the perfection of crimes across the state. Most worrisome in all this is a noticeable trend that indicates an increasing local expertise in the fabrication of various types of firearms including replicas of foreign-made pistols, AK-47s and other rifles.”
Owohunwa called on all strategic state actors and the citizens to complement the efforts of the police in rolling back the dangerous tide. He noted that the command would organize a conference in the coming weeks in a bid to initiate a discourse to contain cultism and violent crimes in the state.
Egbetokun, however, warned police officers to shun unprofessional conduct and show commitment to professionalism.
He specifically noted that complaints of extortion about police officers have given the police force a bad image.
On the proposed establishment of a special intervention squad, Egbetokun disclosed that mobilisation of personnel had begun to that effect.
He said this was in line with ongoing efforts to rid some troubled parts of the country of criminal elements.
He said, “If you have been following our activities since I came into the office of the Inspector General of Police as acting IG, we have taken steps to do a number of things to ensure that crime is reduced to its barest minimum, to restore security to troubled areas. We are taking necessary steps to get rid of criminal elements that were terrorising the motorists along the Abuja-Kaduna route. Very soon you are going to be seeing results.
“We are embarking on the establishment of a special intervention squad. We have started mobilisation to make a success of that. And very soon, the SIS will start operation in the states that we have chosen as pilot states. Just give us a little more time and you will start seeing our actions yield results.
“Luckily we have a government in place that cares about the welfare of the police officers and the challenges relating to welfare. I have assurances from Mr president that efforts are underway to bring smiles to the faces of policemen in Nigeria,” he added.