April 1, 2023

Arms mop up: Police recover 21 firearms in Lagos in one month

State Police

•Record 54 major incidents during elections
•No hiding place for cultists, robbers under my watch — CP Lagos declares

By Evelyn Usman

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Idowu Owohunwa, has disclosed that 21 firearms were recovered in Lagos in March 2023 alone, as part of a strategy to address the challenge of illegal firearms in the hands of non-state actors.

He has also advised cultists to renounce membership in their different confraternities, warning that there would not be hiding places for them and other criminals under his watch.

Making the disclosure at his inaugural meeting with strategic Commanders of the Lagos State Police Command, at the Police Officers Mess, Ikeja, Lagos, the command boss, also revealed that 54 major incidents were recorded across the 13,325 polling units in the state during the just concluded general elections.

CP Owohunwa who noted that illegal possession of arms by non-state actors was prevalent in Lagos but not isolated to it, informed that the Command under his watch had a coordinated approach in line with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba, to mop up illicit firearms within the public space.

He said, “ Within March alone, we recovered 21 firearms of different precisions and calibres. We will sustain it and hope that the judicial system will support us and ensure prompt justice on those arrested.

“The command also recorded a combined total of 54 major incidents across all the 13,325 Polling Units in the State, while a total of 45 suspects were arrested during the two electoral engagements.

“In addition,2,870 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were recovered in the course of police election security operations from various electoral offenders. Other recovered items include seven weapons of violence including two firearms, 28 snatched Ballot Boxes, one BVAS Machines and one POS Machine being deployed for Vote Buying”.

He noted that the just concluded general elections presented some isolated challenges that were fueled by fake news purveyors, political extremists, thugs and ethnic chauvinists, all aimed at threatening the electoral process, creating tension and threatening peace and security within the wider polity.

But he stated that the Command was able to navigate through the challenges “ to deliver to Lagosians what has been widely acclaimed as the most peaceful, secure, and credible electoral engagement, in comparative terms, in the recent history of the State.

“Our exceptional performance was also evidenced by the reality that contrary to the pre-election threat analysis projections which identified Lagos as one of the possible flash States where mass electoral violence was envisioned, Lagos State did not witness any widespread electoral violence nor did the State experience post-election disorder. Indeed, the post-election trend has been that of peace and stability with the Police continuing to dominate the public space in a manner that continues to reassure the citizens and effectively deter ill-intentioned elements”, Owohunwa stated.

Away from the election, the command boss revealed that the immediate challenge in Lagos State was the increasing threat that violent criminals, particularly cultists, were posing to Lagosians.

He said, “ Indeed, the activities of cultists have today evolved to become the most concerning threat to public peace and security in the State and it is expedient that we strengthen our operational strategies and action plans that will address this potent threat.