At least 21 assorted firearms were recovered by police from non-state actors across Lagos in March.
The police authority said it intensified illegal firearms mop-up in line with directives from the Inspector General of Police (IG) Alkali Usman.
Lagos Police Commissioner, CP Owohunwa Idowu gave the details at his maiden press briefing at the Officers’ Mess Friday in Ikeja, where he also reviewed security operations during the last general elections.
According to him, the command adopted the concentric circle law enforcement principle to not only mop up these illegal firearms but track their sources.
Acknowledging that illicit firearms in the hands of non-state actors was a challenge to law enforcement, Idowu said the police would not rest until the syndicate behind the proliferation were arrested, prosecuted.
He said: “What we are doing is to continue to identify sources of these firearms. We do arrest, make recoveries and have a coordinated approach in line with the directive of the IG to mop up illicit firearms within the public space.
“From the strategic approach, what we are doing is to not isolate the recovery of a firearm. If we recover one, we use the concentric circle law enforcement principle to track the source. That is the only way we can break the network behind the proliferation of the arms and I think it is beginning to yield results.
So, the point here is that we will keep sustaining our efforts to track the brains behind this to ensure that our mop up operation is meaningful and sustainable. In doing so, we also need the support of the citizens in providing information so that firearm traffickers are apprehended. “Within March alone, we recovered 21 firearms of different precision and calibres. We will sustain it and hope that the judicial system will support us and ensure prompt justice for those arrested.”
The police chief also said the command was cracking alot of kidnappings, noting that there would always be isolated cases because the crime was opportunistic.
Taking stock of election security, Idowu said 54 major incidents were recorded across all 13,325 polling units, adding that 45 suspects were arrested in the two elections.
He said 2,870 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs); seven weapons including two firearms; 28 snatched ballot boxes; One BVAS machine and a POS machine being deployed for vote buying, were recovered in the course of police election security operations from various electoral offenders.
“Out of the cases under investigation, it is also on record that Lagos State was the first command to conclude the investigation of the first sets of fourteen (14) electoral offences and promptly processed eight to INEC for prosecution in line with the Electoral Act and the directives of the Inspector General of Police, while others involving unlawful possession of firearms and sundry criminal acts were charged to courts by the Police.
“Investigations into the remaining electoral offenses have reached advanced stages and as soon as they are concluded they will be similarly processed for prosecution in furtherance to efforts to sanitise our electoral space and discourage the resort to extra-legal means to attain political ends in future electoral engagements in the state…
“The Presidential and National Assembly Elections as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections presented some isolated challenges which were fundamentally fueled by fake news purveyors, hate news mongers, political extremists, thugs, and ethnic chauvinists all of whom fraudulently manipulated the social media not only to threaten the electoral process but to create tension and threaten peace and security within the wider polity.” The Nation