2019 Polls: Police to Set up Task Force against Illegal Arms, Ammunition

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• IG: Why police can’t carry out frequent recruitment

•To compile number of officers attached to VIPs

Paul Obi in Abuja

Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Nigerian Police wednesday said it would set up task force to combat illegal firearms and ammunition in circulation across the country.

The Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, stated this yesterday at a meeting with Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs), Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) across the country.

He said: “We are here to dialogue on the issue of curbing of illegal arms and ammunition in various parts and police commands in this country.

“I call for this meeting so that we can have a comprehensive and intensive program for our 36, states command and Abuja, to look into the issue of curbing illegal arms and ammunition in this country.

“I believe it is very necessary especially now that we are going into a political period and for the experiences we have, in Benue State and some parts of this country where the establishment of illegal militias and arming of these militias which I believe is not in the interest of this country.

“Therefore I decided to call the state commissioners of police of the commands, we now place it on them the responsibilities to conduct campaign in their various commands to establish structures to tackle this issue of threats and curbing of illegal arms and ammunition in this country.

“So the essence of assembling the commissioners of police this morning is to insist on them on the formation of these structures to enable us to check the abuse of illegal arms and ammunition in various parts of this country.”
He tasked the commissioners of police to begin campaign in their various states for citizens to submit their illegally acquired firearms to the police authorities, and advocated the construction of what he called ‘public amories’ in all states of federation where they seized arms would be kept.

“Of course, if you look at the firearms acts, one of the provisions of the firearm act is the provision of what is called public armory in each command where these illegal weapons that are gathered will be stored.

“I don’t think there is any command in this country where these public armoury has been constructed. These are the issues I believe we can discuss with our commissioners of police the construction of these public armouries meant to store illegal arms and ammunition from various citizens of this country,” he said.

Giving reasons why the police cannot carry out frequent recruitment, Idris explained that cases of deaths, retirement and dismissal of some police personnel standing above 900 yearly, was responsible for frequent and mass recruitment into the force.

He added that 308,000 police workforce was grossly inadequate for the effective policing of the more than 180 million people in the country.
Idris further noted that the police suffered manpower shortage due largely to loss of 9,028 officers and men yearly, stating that, the development was necessitating the police to embark on frequent mass recruitment so as to cover up the number.

The police chief regretted that the police workforce was far below expectation to police a country of over 180 million population, adding: “the workforce was inadequate for the United Nations standard of 400 persons.”
He stressed that the federal government had given the Force the go-ahead to recruit 6,000 policemen into the rank and file for 2018.
He also highlighted the issue of deployment of policemen to private citizens, adding: “The issue of manpower is one problem the Nigeria Police Force is facing. There is a need for us to have a police that will work for the generality of Nigerians.”

The IG also directed police commissioners and zonal AIGs, to compile the number of policemen attached to VIPs and individuals in the country, so as to strategise for effective policing.