No fewer than 172 kidnap cases were recorded across the country in the past seven months.
Inspector–General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun gave the figure yesterday just as the Defence Headquarters(DHQ), said troops rescued 116 kidnapped persons in various parts of the country last month.
Egbetokun, at a news conference with strategic police managers at the Force headquarters in Abuja, added that 107 victims of kidnap were rescued by the police while 166 firearms and 41 vehicles were recovered during the seven weeks.
He put the number of persons arrested for various crimes in the past seven weeks at 814.
The IGP, who also said that 14 people, including two public officials, were apprehended during last weekend’s re-run and by-elections in some states, restated his assurance to Nigerians that kidnapping and other crimes in the country would be stemmed drastically.
His words: “Following from our last meeting held on the 18th of December, 2023, I am pleased to report that substantial progress has been recorded.
“Significant strides have also been made in maintaining law and order, combating criminal activities, including but not limited to kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, insurgency and secessionist groups.
“Let us continue to support and uplift our officers, whose tireless efforts contribute significantly to the security and prosperity of our communities. It is important for us to address the concerns and fears of our fellow Nigerians regarding the security situation in our country. We understand the gravity of the challenges we face and the responsibility we bear in ensuring the safety and well-being of every citizen.
“I assure you that the Nigeria Police Force remains resolute in its commitment to protecting lives and property, and we are actively working to address the security threats facing our nation.
“By fostering stronger partnerships with communities, leveraging intelligence-led approaches, and enhancing our operational capabilities, we are dedicated to confronting these challenges head-on and restoring peace and stability across the country.
“The safety of our people is our utmost priority, and we pledge to continue undauntedly in safeguarding our beloved nation.
“During this period, we recorded 35 cases of terrorism/secessionist attacks, 302 cases of murder, 111 cases of armed robbery, 172 cases of kidnapping, 67 cases of banditry and 15 cases of unlawful possession of firearms.
“By executing some of the strategies and plans formulated at the last conference, the Nigeria Police Force arrested 814 suspects for their participation in various crimes, rescued 107 kidnap victims and recovered 166 various firearms, 1,074 ammunition and 41 vehicles.”
The police boss said the 14 persons arrested in connection with the elections would be handed over to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for prosecution.
The IGP frowned at the attitude of some police officers, which he said compounds the image of the Police Force.
He added: “At this juncture, I must emphasise that despite the aforementioned achievements and accolades, we must not lose sight of the pervasive atmosphere of insecurity and the malfeasance of some of our men and officers. Regrettably, we have some unscrupulous elements in our midst who often conduct themselves improperly, thereby bringing the Force into disrepute.
“These unscrupulous elements in our midst often disparage the good and hard work of most of us.”
“I hereby state categorically that it is our responsibility to ensure better service delivery through the strict supervision of our men and officers. It is incumbent upon us to lead by example and leave no room for the negative elements in our midst to thrive.”
DHQ: we arrested 266 terrorists, aborted theft of N2.8b worth of crude, others
Also in Abuja, the DHQ said troops neutralised 266 terrorists and arrested 463 last month.
It added that 447 assorted weapons and 6,697 ammunition, comprising 237 AK47 rifles, 26 locally- fabricated guns, 18 pump action guns, 55 Dane guns and 6,807 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo were recovered.
Other items recovered by the troops are 421 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 16 rounds of 9mm and 506 live cartridges.
Director of Defence Media Operations Edward Buba reeled out the figures during his bi-weekly news conference on the operations of the Armed Forces.
In the Southsouth, Buba said troops, recovered 1,832,150 litres of stolen crude oil, 523,799 litres of illegally refined AGO, 16,716 litres of kerosene and 5,200 litres of petrol.
According to him, the troops denied the oil thieves N2.8 billion, which was said to be the value of the products.
He added that 26 oil thieves were also arrested.
Buba advised terrorists/bandits and kidnappers to surrender or be killed, warning that there is no third option.
He said: “Needless to mention, these terrorists are left with only two choices, which is to either be killed or surrender.
“Our goal is to restore peace and security for citizens to have an enjoyable life. We will continue to do that despite the current circumstances.
“Troops will continue fighting with great effort, determination and sacrifice to bring about great results.
“Because our security challenges are mostly self- inflicted. It is pertinent to urge citizens to rise up to the challenge. It is time to stop the bleeding for healing to commence.
“ We urge all segments of society to take examples from our gallant troops in the frontlines fighting to achieve the goal of liquidating terrorists and insurgents across the country to restore peace and security.
“These men and women, are from all the nooks and crannies of our country, and act shoulder to shoulder as a united force to achieve a common cause of destroying camps of violence in the country.”
On a recent video of a soldier complaining that his N50,000 monthly salary was too small to enable him to visit his family, the Defence spokesman said: “The military is governed by its laws, regulations and guidelines, any personnel who contravenes them will be sanctioned accordingly.”