Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has directed the Commissioners of Police of all the State Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and their supervising AIGs to immediately commence simultaneous disarmament and recovery of prohibited firearms, ammunition and weapons in the possession of all suspected and unauthorized groups throughout the country.
The groups include 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.
Towards this end, states governments have been given a 21 days ultimatum to disarm vigilantees and neighbourhood watch group, hunters and watch-night men or any group or association under any capacity or guise other than statutory security agencies recognized and gazetted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to bear firearms of specified category; who are currently possessing and using prohibited/illegal firearms such as Pump action gun and the likes for whatsoever purpose.
The firearms are to be surrendered to the Commissioner of Police in the state where they are domiciled.
A statement from Force headquarters gave the categories of the prohibited/illegal firearms and ammunition, specified under Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 Fire Arms Act as follows:
ii. Apparatus for the discharge of any explosives of gas diffusing projectile.
iii. Rocket weapons
iv. Bombs and Grenades
v. Machine-Guns and Machine-Pistols
vi. Military rifles, namely; those of calibers 7.62mm, 9mm, .300 inches
vii. Revolvers and Pistols whether rifled or unrifled (including flint-lock pistols and cap pistols).
viii. Firearms such as Pump action gun of all categories
ix. Any other firearms/lethal weapons fabricated to kill
The statement signed by Force PRO, CSP Jimoh Moshood said, “A Police Joint Task Enforcement Team has been set up at the Force Headquarters by the Inspector General of Police, while the Commissioners of Police and the Assistant Inspectors General of Police in the States and Zonal Commands respectively have been mandated to immediately set-up similar Police Joint Task Enforcement Teams in their States and Zones.
“The teams are to commence the ‘Mop-up, Seizure and Recovery of all illegal and prohibited firearms and ammunition from wrong hands, suspected Militias, Militants, Criminal/Unlawful Gangs’.
“The operation will equally include Cordon and Search and Raid, Seizure from any premises, hideouts, dwelling houses or buildings or sites (completed or under construction) or any other location where these illegal/prohibited firearms are kept or on reasonable suspicion are believed to be kept or being used.
“This Operation which among other purposes, is aimed at the full enforcement of the Firearms Act, mopping-up and recovery of all prohibited firearms and illegally acquired weapons will enable the Nigeria Police Force deal decisively with Herders and Farmers Clashes, Kidnappings, Armed Robbery, Cattle Rustling, Militancy and Terrorism.
“The Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands are under strict instruction of the Inspector General of Police to enforce and carryout these directives in totality.
“They have also been directed to convey a security stakeholders meeting immediately to sensitize and educate the members of the general public, stakeholders and other interest groups throughout the States of the Federation and the FCT on this operation.
The Police further warned that “No license will be given or recognized in respect of prohibited firearms and ammunition except if granted by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria upon the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police.
“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 ammunitions including muzzle-loading firearms and for matters ancillary thereto (L.N. 32 of 1959) as cited under the Firearms Act.
“The Nigeria Police Force therefore implores concerned Citizens, General Public, States and Local Government Authorities to prevail on their vigilantes, neighbourhood watch, civil security outfits and watch night men and others attached to any organization including Public and Private Institutions in the Country to surrender within the time limit of 21days, all the prohibited firearms in their possession to the Police and be law abiding.
“Anyone found with prohibited firearms after the expiration of the 21days will be arrested, investigated and prosecuted. The Police will not hesitate to apply the full weight of the Law on any individual or group under any guise whose conduct run contrary to the law of the land.
“The renewed commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to guarantee protection of Lives and Property across the country remains unequivocal and unwavering.”