Nigeria’s national police chief Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the thirty-six state heads of the force to ramp up the fight against the rising proliferation of firearms across the country.
Frank Mba, the spokesperson of the police disclosed this in a statement provided to the Lagos Times on Sunday.
Mr Mba said the order was issued in part as part of the preparations for two off-cycle governorship elections scheduled to be held within the next few weeks in Edo and Ondo states.
Mr Mba said the order would authorize the state police chiefs to identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute any individual or group found in possession of prohibited and unlicensed firearms
He said the police had observed that there were frequent reports of the deliberate arming and movement of political thugs and other undesirables across the country.
He said the order would also address the proliferation and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms in the country, contrary to the provisions of the Firearms Act.
The state chiefs are expected to immediately convene community forums of all vigilante groups and quasi-security outfits spread across the country. The police spokesman said the idea was to ensure that their activities were in conformity with the extant laws guiding their establishment and operations.
“The I-G observed that several civil groups, vigilantes, quasi states and regional security outfits under various guisess are arming themselves with prohibited firearms and weapons in contravention of the provisions of the Firearms Act. If unchecked, the trend will pose serious threat to national security,” he said.
Mba said the I-G enjoined citizens to co-operate with the police in the enforcement of the order, adding that the aim was to ensure safety of lives and property in the country.