NIGERIA’s Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has disclosed that the South West region has one of the highest rates of the arrest of suspected criminals and recovery of unlawful ammunition and firearms.
He said this on Monday at the South West Geopolitical Zone Security Summit held at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The summit is the second facilitated by the Nigeria Police, following one organised for stakeholders in the North West in August.
“Between January – August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South West,” the IGP said.
“Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the South West, while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the South West.
“Furthermore, 1,183 suspected cultists have also been arrested with 425 of this figure apprehended in the South Western States. In relation to recoveries, 1,356 firearms of various calibre and descriptions were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the police with 277 of such recoveries made in the South Western part of the country.”
Adamu also said 5,270 out of the total of 21,300 ammunitions recovered by the police this year were from criminal syndicates in the South West—“including about 2,700 ammunition recovered in June 2019 from a cross-border arms smuggling syndicate in Oyo State”.
“Furthermore, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered with 482 of such recoveries achieved in the South West while a total of 837 kidnapping victim were rescued with 106 of such rescues achieved in the South West,” he added.
The IGP said, despite these figures, the security situation across Nigeria has been stabilised, “generally speaking”.
“However, there are isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the South West, particularly, along Benin-Ore-Lagos Highway and across Ondo State,” he added.
He explained that the aims of the summit are to promote the ideals of community policing in the region and encourage communities and their leaders to cooperate with the police in developing new approaches to restoring order.
He said the police have procured new patrol vans to be deployed across highways and cities, and also plan to relaunch the ‘Safer Highway’ Motorised Patrol Scheme and the ‘Safer City’ Scheme in the South West.
“This will also involve the deployment of cutting-edge CCTV technology for surveillance functions across the highways and vulnerable locations in our communities in the Zone and other parts of the country,” the police boss said.
“In addition, a special operation is underway across the South West geopolitical Zone. The operation will specifically address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways and other locations.”
The Nigeria Police, he also announced, will recruit 40,000 Community Police Officers (CPOs) across the country, comprising at least 50 from each local government area. Adamu hinted 1300 of these officers will be drawn from professional bodies such as academic institutions, transport unions, traders’ associations, religious bodies, among others.