The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris Kpotum has ordered commissioners across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory to embark on immediate, mass mop up of prohibited firearms in the hands of individuals and groups.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Force spokesperson, Moshood Jimoh, Mr. Idris ordered the police commissioners to immediately begin the recovery of “prohibited firearms, ammunition and weapons in the possession of all suspected Militias, Bandits, vigilante groups, Neighbourhood watch and other groups or Individual(s) or Bodies bearing prohibited firearms and ammunition, illegal weapons and lethal devices whether locally fabricated, modified or otherwise fashioned to kill or that can cause harm or injury to persons or that can cause panic, fear, apprehension, security breach, breach of Peace or that can cause threat to law and order anywhere in the Country.”
The Police IG listed 19 types of firearms that are not expected to be found in the hands of civilians in line with Chapter F.28 of 2004 Fire Arms Act.
Such weapons, he said must be targeted in the mop up campaign.
The firearms, as listed in the police statement, include artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosives of gas diffusing projectile, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades, machine-guns and machine-pistols, military rifles (calibers ranging from 7.62mm, 9mm, .300 inches), revolvers and pistols (whether rifled or unrifled including flint-lock pistols and cap pistols), firearms such as pump action gun of all categories and any other firearms/lethal weapons fabricated to kill.
Mr. Kpotum therefore urged all those in possession of the listed firearms to surrender them to the police as a joint task force would be set up to immediately enforce clampdown on location where such weapons are believed or suspected to being kept and individuals or groups who are not ready to comply with the directive to surrender them.
He added that possessors or owners of the prohibited firearms have 21 days to surrender them to the commissioner of police or risk facing the law of the land.
“For avoidance of doubt, the Robbery and Firearms Act Cap R.11 LFN 2004 and Firearms Act Cap F.28 LFN 2004 are explicit on punishment for illegal possession of Firearms, offence and punishment for receiving, punishments for parties to offences under sections 1,2,3 or 4 of Cap R.11 and also the provisions for regulating the possession of and dealing in firearms and ammunition including muzzle-loading firearms and for matters ancillary thereto (L.N. 32 of 1959) as cited under the Firearms Act.”
The Police said the recovery of illegally possessed firearms would help in efforts to tackle terrorism, and farmers/herdsmen clashes, kidnapping, cattle rustling among other crimes being perpetrated in the country.
Similarly, the Lagos State Police Command has also issued a notice to possessors of rifles to submit their weapons and licenses to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the closest Police Station to their abode, for verification, confirmation, and revalidation.
The Lagos Police PRO stated that this would enable the Command to update its database with information about the owners, licenses, and state of the firearms.