Ali Abare, Gombe
The Gombe State Police Command has issued a 21-day ultimatum to persons possessing illegal firearms, weapons and ammunitions in Gombe State to surrender them to authorities.
State Commissioner of Police Shina Tahiru Olukolu disclosed this while paying a ‘Thank-You’ visit to the secretariat of the Gombe State Correspondents’ Chapel on Thursday.
CP Olukolu disclosed that the Command has set up a taskforce to curb the proliferation of illegal firearms following on the directives of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for the disarmament, mopping-up and recovery of prohibited firearms, ammunitions and weapons in the hands of suspected militias, bandits, vigilante groups, among others.
He stressed that the 21-day ultimatum became necessary to enable the public surrender unlicensed and other prohibited firearms in their possession to the taskforce headed by Superintendent of Police Hamman Ishaku Kwambla at the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID) located at Command headquarters.
The Commissioner warned that anyone found to be in possession of illegal weapons and ammunition after the 21 days would be arrested and prosecuted.
He however urged those with licenses to endeavour to renew them within the stipulated time.
“Anyone found with any prohibited firearms thereafter will be arrested, investigated and prosecuted,” he warned.
CP Olukolu added that the Command would not hesitate to apply the full wrath of the law on any individual or group under any guise whose conduct runs contrary to the law.
He listed the categories of prohibited firearms and ammunitions as specified under Chapter F.28 of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 Firearms Act to include: artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosive of gas diffusing projective, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades, machine guns, military rifles, revolvers and pistols, among others.
While enjoining the public to report any person or group bearing prohibited arms to the taskforce, the Command issued the following phone numbers for the public to contact the taskforce: 08036334264, 08150567771, 07053792577 and 08038467592.
Th CP also called on the media and the public at large to exercise caution as election season approaches.
“We all know political campaigns will very soon go full blown. We want to seize this opportunity to call on members of the public, as well as journalists, to play the game according to the rules and not to fall to the temptation of sensationalizing negative issues. Because you and I know that we are in the northeast and, in spite of the relative peace Gombe is enjoying, the region is considered to be a place that has issues with security,” he said.
He equally appealed to parents to guard their wards against the menace of drug abuse, while urging young men to marry instead of resorting to rape.
Responding, Chairman of the Corespondents’ Chapel, Abudllahi Tukur of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), thanked the Commissioner for the visit, pledging to sustain the harmonious relationship existing between the police and journalists in Gombe.