The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered commissioners of police across Nigeria to “identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute” individuals or groups found in possession of prohibited firearms.
According to the force’s spokesperson, Frank Mba, the order was part of the police preparations for the governorship elections coming up in Edo and Ondo states “as well as efforts by the Police High Command to curb the proliferation of prohibited firearms in the country.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the Edo and Ondo elections for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
The directive was necessary against the backdrop of the arming and movement of political thugs and other criminal elements across the country, Mr Mba said
He added that the directive was also targeted at addressing the proliferation of prohibited firearms in the country, in line with the provisions of Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 of the Firearms Act.
He said the commissioners have also been directed to meet vigilante groups and quasi security outfits in their states in order to ensure that their activities are in conformity with the laws guiding their establishment and operations.
“The IGP, while observing that several civil groups – vigilantes, quasi states and regional security outfits under various guises are arming themselves with prohibited firearms and weapons in contravention of the provisions of the Firearms Act, notes that the trend if unchecked, will pose serious threat to national security.”
The police boss urged Nigerians to cooperate with the force in the enforcement of the order as it is aimed at ensuring the safety of lives and property in the country.