The new Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, CP Donald Awunah has advised citizens of the state to key into the ongoing mop-up of illegal firearms in the State by Task Force on illegal firearms.
Addressing the media in his maiden press conference in Yenagoa, Awunah said “The efforts of the Task Force on arms mop up have started yielding positive results.
He warned that, “All those still in possession of illegal firearms and owners of illegal weapons will face the wrath of the law.
“As counter measure, we have set up ‘Operation Safer Bayelsa’ a crime reduction strategy.
Awunah said the aim of the Ops Safer Beyelsa among other crime fighting techniques to, Mobilize, re-focus personnel and resources for optimum performance; Confront frontally violent crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping, sex related offences, communal strife and other crimes of concern;
It is also to sustain the crack down on cultism, cultist, cult related infractions and thereby promoting quality of life, ensuring peace and security; reduce fear of crime; apprehend all criminal elements, their sponsors and collaborators.
It will ensure the conduct of discreet professional investigation, and arraignment of all proven suspects in courts of competent jurisdiction.
In addition and most significantly, Anti-Cultism Unit has been created in the State Crime Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) to streamline and galvanize coordinated Police action against cultism in the State.
“Similarly, we have introduced Rapid Response Teams (RRT) domiciled in the State Headquarters and re-organized the Tactical Teams, to provide a bite to our crime fighting techniques” he said.
Continuing, CP Awunah said, “As part of our increased response time, we have introduced a system of response to distress call termed the ‘Incidence Convergence Domination System’ (ICDS). This is simply a system whereby not less than 5 patrol vehicles converge on scene of crime/ location of incident.
On the crime pattern in the state, Awunah said, “A cursory analysis indicates evidently that most prevalent crimes are driven by cultism.
“Membership of Secret Cult criminal gangs appears to have permeated the ranks of some misguided youths in the State, whose minders are disgruntled elements engaged in criminal enterprise.
“Our in-depth crime mapping identified the following as active major cult groups in the State; Icelanders, Greenlanders, Bobos, De Bam, De Well, Black Axe, Vikings and many others across the various strata of the State.
“Our policing Objectives will be anchored on people oriented policing, problem solving approach, creative partnership, adherence to best practices, compassion, courage and respect for diversity as encapsulated in the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris`s vision and philosophy of democratic policing.
“There’s is no doubt the Police process and facilitate democracy in all its ramifications.
“The Press, Traditional Rulers, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Human Right groups, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), Youths and Women groups, the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Eminent Persons Forum (EPF), approved Vigilante groups, organized labour and non-state actors are pivotal and allies to our determination to curb criminal activities in the State.
“In the same vain, inter agency collaboration will remain a hallmark of crime prevention and management from internal security perspective
Noting that the introduction of Ops Safer Bayelsa has recorded huge gains in terms of arrest of criminal elements, recovery of arms from violent criminals in Yenagoa, the CP said, “We are not resting on our gains yet as there is still a lot to be achieved in pursuit of our goals”.
He listed some of the successes recorded by the Command in the month of February are as follows: Arrest of 10 suspected cultist, arrest of 8 armed robbers, recovery of 1 AK-47 riffle, recovery of 7 locally made pistols, 4 locally made single barrel gun, Toyota saloon car, 3 cutlasses and 8 live cartridges.
Emphasizing on Cultism, he said, “In the wake of rising cases of cult and cult related crimes, the Command has recorded some successes in its fight against cultism, few of such successes are arrest of such cult members of Debam Secret Cult in a bush at Igbogene, all from Omoku, Rivers State.
They are Gospel Peter ‘m’ 28yrs, Chijoke Egi ‘m’ 22yrs, Felix Obeni ‘m’ 23yrs.
Other cultists arrested are Joe Gilbert ‘m’ 25yrs, Look-me-stay ‘m’ 25yrs, and James Okafor ‘m’ 20yrs, with one locally made pistol recovered from them.
Another cultist arrested is Felix Akpode ‘m’ with one locally made Single Barrel Pistol and one live cartridge recovered from him.
Several other cultist gangs were busted, suspects arrested and several arms and ammunition recovered with CP Awunah assuring that they would face prosecution on the completion of investigation by the police.