By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris has called for a law prescribing life jail of even death penalty for kidnappers and other criminals engaged in heinous crimes against the society.
Speaking on the rising incidence of kidnapping, Herdsmen attacks and other forms of violent crimes in the country during an interface between the Police, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja, Idris said the Federal Government should consider proposing a law to establish special court that would help accelerate trial of kidnap cases currently on the increase.
He said that there was also need to review the scale of punishments for culprits to ensure stringent punishment for offenders.
“We have almost 2000 kidnapping suspects all over the country. We are suggesting the enactment of law for the setting up special courts for trial of kidnaping suspects. We have to get special courts to address this crime of kidnapping and we have to review the punishment. We have to raise the punishment for kidnapping so that if you get involved in the crime you get either life jail or death penalty,” he said. Â
Â The police chief said intelligence report had shown that kidnap kingpins were avoiding states that had enacted stringent laws against kidnapping.
Idris said that the kidnap suspect, Evans had in one of his confessional statements said that he told his boys to avoid his home state, Anambra because there was a law that provides for destruction of homes and properties of kidnappers.
Apart from the feat recorded by the police in arresting the kidnapping kingpin, Evans, the IGP said that his men had also recorded success in tackling the criminal activities of herdsmen, adding that some arrests had been made in Niger State and that they were being prosecuted.
As part of measures to combat crimes and adequately police the society, he said they had so far recruited 10,000 new personnel this year.
According to him, the shortfall in the number of police came from the non-recruitment of personnel since 2010, adding that going forward, the police force intended to fill the gap by making room for the recruitment of 30,000 every year.
Â The IGP said there was plan to progressively increase the number of police personnel from the current population of 308,000 to 700,000.
Apart from the new recruitments, he said the Force had promoted 33,000 personnel of various ranks in the last one year.
While responding to the issues raised by the Convener of the parley, Clement Nwankwo and other members of CSOs, the IGP said the police command had taken serious measures to deal with electoral offenders.
He said that two suspects responsible for the killing of two police personnel during the last re-election in Rivers state had been arrested and were being prosecuted.
Since coming into office Idris said that he had introduced special police arm known as the Special Protection Units for the protection of citizens from criminals.Â
He said that with creation of the special protection units, the police would soon withdraw mobile police men attached to politicians and VIPs.
On the activities of suspected Fulani herdsmen, the IGP said several arrests had been made in places like Niger State and that they were being prosecuted.
He also assured that the police was working hard to ensure the arrest of a notorious criminal operating in Benue State axis, Twarse Agweza known as “Gana”.
On his part’ the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave an update on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise in the country saying that the commission had registered over one million new voters. Â
He also said that the commission had been able to distribute 60,000 out the 8 million uncollected permanent voter cards, adding that INEC would deploy 300,000 machines to aid the registration exercise.