Arase: Arms Proliferation Sustained by Absence of Punishment for Offenders

Arase: Arms Proliferation Sustained by Absence of Punishment for Offenders


•Says no consequences for crimes in Nigeria, ‘unknown gunmen, herdsmen’ yet to face the law

•Explains half of nation’s policemen guarding the elite 

•IG reiterates order on withdrawal of orderlies attached to VIPs

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Solomon Arase, yesterday, tied the proliferation of arms in the country to the absence of punishment for offenders.

He said the failure to apprehend the so-called “unknown gunmen and herdsmen” had sustained the proliferation of arms in Nigeria.

THISDAY Checks revealed that out of the 6000 small and light weapons circulating in Nigeria, 5,500 were in the hands of non-state actors while 500 are in the possession of security agencies.

Arase spoke as the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, insisted that contrary to insinuations about a reversal of the policy, the decision to withdraw the police mobile personnel from escort and guard duties “stands firm, and there will be no going back on this critical policy change.”

Speaking during an interview with newsmen in his  office, Arase said arms proliferation had prevailed as a result of the failure to apprehend and comprehensively mete out adequate  punishment to criminals.

“There are no consequences for crimes in Nigeria. People are not arrested for crimes committed. We say unknown gunmen and herdsmen. They are not arrested,” he said.

He cited the high crime rate in the United States but noted that the perpetrators of the crimes never escape justice.

“You see the high crime rate in US but the perpetrators do not go scot-free. Have you seen any of them escape in US?” he queried, and called for security sector reforms which he described as “a marathon race”.

He also advocated intelligence-led policing and the deployment of technology as a panacea to crime and criminalities in the country.

The former Inspector-General of Police, therefore, called for the involvement of social and professional groups in community policing and deployment of strategies perculiar to such communities to aid intelligence gathering, even as he lamented that half of the number of  policemen in the country policed the elite creating situations of ungoverned and insecure spaces.

“Half of our policemen are policing the elite and that means you have ungoverned spaces because Nigeria is a vast country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Egbetokun has insisted that contrary to insinuations about the reversal of the policy,  the decision to withdraw the police mobile personnel from escort and guard duties “stands firm, and there will be no going back on this critical policy change.”

A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said, “the withdrawal process has already commenced with a comprehensive report, which has been submitted by the constituted committee assigned to oversee the seamless implementation of this directive.

He said the IGP has activated the mobilisation process for the establishment of the ‘Police Quick Intervention Squad’ which precedes the withdrawal policy.

“The decision to withdraw Police Mobile Force personnel from VIP duties is part of ongoing efforts to optimise the allocation of resources and enhance the efficiency of the Nigeria Police Force in its core mandate of safeguarding the lives and properties of all citizens.”

The statement said while poised to ensure a smooth transition, the Nigeria Police remained committed to providing adequate security arrangements for VIPs who were entitled to such protection.

“The force will carefully consider the provisions of Sections 23 to 25 of the Police Act 2020, in recruiting more supernumerary officers, to handle VIP security responsibilities. No VIP or critical infrastructure will be left unprotected as a result of the new policy.

“The Inspector-General of Police remains resolute in his pursuit of reforms and initiatives that will enhance the professionalism and public trust in the Nigeria Police Force.

“The decision to withdraw police mobile force personnel from VIPs is driven by the need to create a more robust, efficient, and people-centered police force that caters to the security needs of all citizens equally,” it stated.

The IG, therefore, urged the public and all stakeholders to support and cooperate with the Nigeria Police during the transition period to strengthen the security apparatus and create a safer environment for everyone to thrive.

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