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Police arrest over 21,296 suspects for ‘violent crime’

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Nigeria’s police chief has said 21,296 suspects allegedly involved in “violent crimes”, including kidnapping and armed robbery, were arrested in the country last year.

Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu gave the figures while reviewing police operations over the past year at the Criminal Investigation Department and the Force Intelligence Bureau in the capital Abuja.

He did not say whether any of those arrested had been prosecuted or even convicted.

But a statement from the police spokesperson Frank Mba says “all suspects will be charged” in court on conclusion of investigations.

“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,” he said.

“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“All the suspects will be charged to court on conclusion of investigations.”

Rights groups have long accused the Nigerian police of arbitrary arrests and detentions without trial, which they often deny.

In October 2020, the country was rocked by anti-police brutality protests with the #EndSARS hashtag which went viral.

Giving a further breakdown of their scorecard, the Nigerian police said 3,347 firearms and 133, 496 ammunition were recovered from suspects during the year while a total of 1002 kidnap victims were “safely rescued” and reunited with their families.

As Nigeria continues to experience frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom and other forms of violent crimes, the police boss has promised better security in 2021 saying they would adopt “aggressive, proactive, intelligence-driven and community-based crime-fighting strategies”.





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