From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigeria Police Force headquarters in Abuja said on Monday that it had made a total arrest of 21,296 criminal suspects in 2020.
The Force said that its operatives had rescued 1,200 kidnapping victims, recovered a total of 3,340 firearms, 133,496, live ammunition and 960 stolen vehicles across the country.
Force Public Relations Officer Frank Mba gave a breakdown of the latest crime statistics while parading 18 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers, car snatchers and other criminals before newsmen in Abuja.
The police spokesman said the 18 suspects were arrested within the first two weeks of 2021 with assorted weapons including eight AK-47 rifles, one submachine gun, 36 rounds of live ammunition and magazines were recovered from them.
Mba, who used the occasion to announce the successes recorded by the police in 2020, said the 21,296 suspects arrested were highly dangerous criminals who have been terrorising citizens of the country.
The police spokesman, while assuring Nigerians of the determination and readiness of the force to fight against all forms of crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, cultism, cybercrime, Sexual/Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), amongst others in the country in 2021, said the police has concluded plans to implement aggressive, proactive, intelligence-driven and community-based crime-fighting strategies in its quests to make the country safer.
He stated that the Inspector-General, Mohammed Adamu, has promised that the Force would take the battle to the doorsteps of the criminals and also expand its collaboration with the citizens and other law enforcement agencies in its bid to flush out criminal elements in every part of the country.
Giving an update on police operations in 2020, Mba said:
‘The IGP, while reviewing the scorecard of police operations at the Force CID and Force Intelligence Bureau, revealed that a total of 21,296 criminal suspects involved in various violent crimes, were arrested and 3,347 firearms, 133,496 ammunition and 960 stolen vehicles recovered. Also, 1,002 kidnap victims were safely rescued from their abductors and reunited with their families.’
‘The renewed commitment by the Force to advance the gains recorded in the fight against crimes in the country in 2020, led to the arrested of the eighteen (18) criminal suspects for offences of armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other violent crimes. Eight (8) AK47 rifles, One (1) SMG sterling gun, 236 AK47 Ammunition, 12 pieces of SMG sterling gun ammunition, Two (2) Toyota Camry Saloon Cars, 2006 and 2014 models (already released to the owners), were recovered from them.
Among those arrested, was one Abubakar Umaru, aka, Buba Bargu, 35, of Kato Shiroro area of Niger State, who is a member and armourer of a kidnap gang that has carried out several kidnap-for-ransom operations along Lokoja-Abuja-Abuja–Kaduna highways and other major highways in the North-Central States of the country.
‘The group was said to have carried out the abduction of one Mohammed Ahmadu, aka CONFIRM, 30, who happens to be a kidnap kingpin and leader of another notorious kidnapping group in the North-Central when he went to their hideout in the forest to sell live ammunition to the group.
‘The kidnap kingpin was said to have been held hostage and shot in the hand until his gang members paid a ransom N1.5 million for his release. Five AK47 rifles, five magazines and 120 rounds of AK47 ammunition were said to have been recovered from Abubakar Umaru at his hideout in the Forest.
“Similarly, Police operatives arrested five (5) members of an armed robbery syndicate who have their criminal network and base spread across Edo, Delta, Ondo and Lagos States. The suspects namely; Godspower Ebogie, ‘m’, Samede Miracle, ‘m’, Efosa Rowland, aka Double, ‘m’, Michael Ifeanyi Egwuatu, ‘m’, and Ifeanyi Ewurum, aka, Rati, ‘m’ were arrested at various locations and linked to several cases of armed robbery and car snatching at gunpoint under investigations by the Police. Two (2) Toyota Camry Saloon Cars, 2006 and 2014 models, robbed from one Mr Osayuwamen Isokpan and Mr Harrison Eribo on 26/6/2020 and 5/7/2020 respectively in Benin, Edo State were recovered from the gang.
‘Meanwhile, the IGP has commended the Police Teams for their dedication to duties which resulted in the successes recorded. While appreciating the citizens for their support so far, the IGP calls for improved partnership and collaboration between the citizens and the Police particularly in the area of providing useful information the Police require in tackling crimes and apprehending unrepentant criminals in the country.
‘All the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.’