Illegal firearms: Police set to clamp down on owners
As the March 15 deadline issued by state commissioners of police to owners of illegal firearms draws near, the Police (IGP) on Saturday, vowed to investigate and prosecute anybody found with prohibited firearms after the expiration of the 21 days notice.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had ordered commissioners across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to embark on immediate mass mop up of prohibited firearms in the hands of individuals and groups.
Investigations by Sunday Tribune on Saturday revealed that state police commands across the country had set up special task forces to enforce the directive, just as it was gathered some guns had already been recovered.
In Port Harcourt, Sunday Tribune gathered that the task force would adopt various strategies including “raids, search, seizure from any premises, hideouts, dwelling houses or any other location where prohibited firearms are kept.”
According to a statement issued by the PPRO in the state, Nnamdi Omoni, “any person or group of persons bearing prohibited firearm or any locally fabricated firearm, in the state, should surrender same to the task force set up by the commissioner of police within the next 21days which started running from 22nd February.”
The statement read further:”This operation is aimed at the full enforcement of mopping up and recovery of all prohibited firearms and illegally acquired weapons and to enable the police deal decisively with herders and farmers’ clashes, Kidnapping, armed robbery, Cattle rustling, militancy and terrorism”.
In Osun State, Sunday Tribune observed that owners of illegal firearms reportedly snubbed the directive of the IGP as police in the state confirmed that only two guns had been recovered, just as they insisted that enforcement would begin after the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to the state’s Commissioner of police, Mr Fimihan Adeoye, visible efforts were being intensified to recover all categories of light arms in possession of unauthorised individuals, most especially pump action rifles.
He affirmed that the enforcement against persons or group that failed to surrender illegal arms would begin immediately after the expiration of the weeks ultimatum, stressing that “we still encourage people with prohibited firearms to surrender them”, he said.
In Kano State, Sunday Tribune gathered that many people had been complying with the directive and were returning their licences to the police for renewal.
A Superintendent of Police (SP), Magaji Musa Majia, who spoke with our correspondent in the state on Saturday said the directive had become mandatory to those in possession of prohibited arms to return such to the police before the expiration of the ultimatum.