By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Let me warmly welcome you all to this Conference which is coming in less than a month after the last one that was held on 11th April, 2019. This underscores the urgency of this meeting which was convened as part of our intent to constantly meet, review our strategies, and brainstorm on pathways towards stabilizing the security space.
- In the course of this meeting, we shall review patterns and trends of crimes, particularly the threat of kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery. In addition, we shall also evaluate the extent of implementation of Operation Puff Adder which was launched on 5th April, 2019 as a strategy to address internal security threats within the shortest possible time.
- In line with this, it is noted that the national crime profile of the country from 1st April, 2019 to date, indicates a slight increase in crime on the one hand, and a significant increase in the arrest of offenders and recoveries of firearms by the police on the other hand. Within this period, one hundred and fifty-seven (157) kidnappers were arrested across the country in April while thirteen (13) have so far been arrested in the first week of this month of May. Kaduna State recorded the highest number of arrested kidnappers with eighteen (18) suspects, followed by Plateau State with seventeen (17), Edo State with fifteen (15) and ten (10) each in Niger and Zamfara States.
- In addition, two hundred and eighteen (218) armed robbery suspects were arrested in several operations by the Police in various Commands in April, 2019 while fifty-seven (57) have so far been arrested in the first week of this month of May. FCT recorded the highest number with forty-two (42) arrests, followed by Edo State with twenty-eight (28), Oyo State with twenty-four (24), Anambra State with twenty-two (22), Imo State with twenty-one (21).
- Furthermore, one hundred and forty-seven (147) firearms of various description were recovered in April, 2019 while fifty (50) have so far been recovered in the first week of the month of May. Lagos and Zamfara States topped the list with twenty-two (22) recoveries each, followed by Edo State with twenty-one (21), Delta State with twenty (20), twelve (12) in Kaduna State and eleven (11) in Niger State.
- The fundamental import of these statistics is twofold. Firstly, while the rate of major crimes indicates a slight increase, the effects remain of internal security concern. Secondly, from the rate and pattern of arrests and recoveries made in recent times by the Police, it could be discerned that while these sets of crimes remain prevalent, the rate of arrests of offenders and recoveries connected to the crimes have been on steady increase.
- This trend was, particularly, noticeable from the month of April, 2019 which coincides with the launch of Operation Puff Adder. This is indicative of the fact that Operation Puff Adder has been largely effective in strengthening the capacity of the Police to respond to internal security threats.
- The essence of this Conference, therefore is to challenge you all, as strategic Police managers at the field operations level, to build on the solid foundation already laid with the launch of Operation Puff Adder and strengthen the crime management frameworks in your respective Commands.
- Following its launch about a month ago, Operation Puff Adders has been replicated in all the States in the Northern part of the country and in most States in the South and feedbacks on the achievements of the initiative have been encouraging.
- In order to complement your efforts, the Safer Highway Motorised Patrol Scheme will be resuscitated. This will involve the acquisition of new fleet of operational vehicles, equipment and weaponry towards expanding the operational scope of the scheme. Similarly, plans are being perfected to establish a National Crime Analysis Centre for purpose of collation, analysis and dissemination of criminal intelligence to support police operations across all commands.
- At the end of this conference it is my expectation that we would have achieved two critical outcomes. Firstly, to resolve to return to our respective Commands with a renewed vigour to redouble our efforts towards taking the war against kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits to their doorsteps. Secondly, to draw on our rich professional experiences in evolving more potent strategies directed at attaining our mandate of maintaining internal security and reversing the current trend of crime across the country.
- It is against this background that I welcome you all to this meeting, even as I look forward to a professionally rewarding engagement.
- I thank you all and pray for God’s continuous protection over you and over our nation.