The Commissioner of Police in FCT, Sadiq Bello, has vowed that the command will rid the Federal Capital Territory of illegal firearms, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The Commissioner, represented by Police Public Relations Officer, Anjuguri Manzah, said this at a news conference on the Operation Finger off the Trigger National Disarmament and Peace Campaign on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference was organised by “Nigeria Salute Initiative and Finger off the Trigger”, a Non-Governmental Organisation that educates youths on peaceful coexistence.
Bello called on those in possession of illegal firearms in the FCT to voluntarily submit them as directed by the Inspector General of Police.
NAN reports that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, recently directed Commissioners of Police of all the state commands to commence the recovery of illegal firearms in the country.
Bello said: “The command is still calling on all those who possess firearms illegally to surrender them before the expiration of the time given.
“We want the residents to know that the submission of the illegal firearms is still open.
“So anyone who is in possession of these firearms can go to any nearest police station or come to the FCT Command to surrender them because the IG has given an extension grace for the submission.
“Because after the expiration of the grace period, anyone found in possession of illegal fire arms would be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”
Bello said that the FCT Command in pursuit of the IGP’s directive on had recovered a number arms and ammunition in March.
He said: “In March, we recovered 778 illegal arms, 222 live cartridges that were voluntarily surrendered in the FCT as part of the efforts to ensure that we don’t have firearms in the command.”
Bello lauded the coordinator of the initiative, and stressed that the campaign could not come at a better time than now when the nation was preparing for 2019 elections.
The Coordinator, “General Salute Nigeria Initiative”, Ambassador Chielo Ojirika, said the campaign was targeted at local communities, schools, churches, mosque, market places, motor parks, among others.
He said that the present ethnic-religious violence and insecurity in the country had prompted more the need for proactive programmes such as the campaign.
Ojirika said: “Thus we need virtuous programmes that provide sustainable unity in Nigeria as a whole.
“Nigeria remains the biggest market in Africa, but this is being hindered by insecurity thereby slowing down her economic growth and development.
“Boko Haram has been pushed back, but other tensions are also growing. For example, frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers, robbery and kidnapping are threatening the existence of Nigeria
“It is therefore important to propagate socio-cultural cooperation among Nigerians. We believe that the yearning of the average Nigerian is that of peace, unity and stability hence Finger off the Trigger.”