The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, says 1,154 suspected kidnappers were arrested across the country between January and August.
Adamu, who made the disclosure on Monday during the Southwest Geopolitical Zone Security Summit held in Ibadan, said that 147 of the arrests were made in the Southwest.
He said that a total of 837 victims of kidnapping were rescued, with 106 of such rescues achieved in the Southwest.
He further said: ”Between January and August, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the Southwest.
”2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the zone.
”1,183 suspected cultists were napped, out of which 425 were arrested in the zone.
”In relation to recovery, 1,356 firearms of various caliber and descriptions were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the Police, with 277 of such recoveries made in the Southwest.
”Similarly, 21,300 ammunition of various descriptions and calibre were recovered with the highest number of 5,270 ammunition recovered from criminal syndicates in the zone.
”Also, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered across the country, with 482 of such recoveries in Southwest,” he stated.
The IGP said the statistics pointed out that the Police in recent months has developed capacity and demonstrated the requisite professional zeal.
He, however, said there were isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the Southwest, particularly along Benin-Ore-Lagos highway and across Ondo state.
He said the current operations of the Police and other security agencies across the country, particularly along Niger- Kogi- FCT -Kaduna -Katsina and Zamfara state has been successful.
“The operations areas have engendered a dispersal and relocation of some of the criminals to new localities including the Southwest.”
He said a special operation was underway across Southwest to specifically address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways and other locations.
He, therefore, called on the security stakeholders in the zone to support the Police in strengthening and advancing in the interest of communal and internal security.
On the essence of the security summit, Adamu said the meeting was convened within the context of police-community policing vision which emphasise citizens engagement in the process of identifying, dissecting ”and prioritising threats to communal values.
”Partnering to develop strategies to address the threats and building trust to undertake actions directed at mitigating them.”
He noted that experience from the first security summit held in the North-East geopolitical zone highlighted the fact that Police could not proceed on an anti-crime war against criminal elements that were united in their determination to threaten nation’s common values with a divided front.
”Hence we must as a strategy, strengthen partnership among ourselves as a community on the one hand and between the communities and the Police on the other hand.
”The strength of this partnership and the commitment of all actors within the process will undoubtedly, influence the extent of success we can record against the criminals.
He noted that the first security summit underscores the strategic importance of community policing as the most potent strategy for internal security governance.
He posited that no police agency either in the advanced or developing climes can succeed in its mandate without the consent, support, and trust of the citizens, regardless of how well equipped, trained or motivated they might be.
He stressed that police legitimacy draws from public consent and trust, saying that lack of effective partnership between the police and the public could only sustain ineffective policing and engender insecurity.
He expressed optimism that the aim of convening the summit ”can and shall be achieved; including advancing the principles of community policing in engaging the citizens towards X-raying the dynamics of crime in the Southwest geopolitical zone.
Adamu further disclosed that 40,000 Community Police Officers (CPOs) would be recruited in order to give full effect to Community Policing Vision as a pathway towards bridging security gaps across the country.
He said the CPOs would be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside.
Reading the communique at the end of the summit, the host governor, Mr Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, said that the IGP has approved the deployment of special forces to be commanded by a Commissioner of Police.
Makinde said the CP would lead a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) team to support the crime-fighting initiative of the state commissioners of police.
Makinde said the southwest States Governors have made a commitment towards the provision of more serviceable, fast-moving patrol vehicles in support of crime-fighting, which shall be launched in no distant future, to complement the available fleet.
He said the traditional rulers have promised to join hands with the Police to take the ongoing fight against heinous crime to the doorsteps of the criminals.
”The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) has equally agreed to partner with the Police in fighting crime to bring it to the lowest ebb.
”The deployment of cutting-edge technology, like CCTV will be strengthened. Aerial surveillance of flashpoints across the South West Geopolitical Zone will be sustained.
”In order to give effect to the community policing vision of the Nigeria Police Force, Community Policing Officers (CPOs) would be recruited from within the communities where they reside.
”This will complement the Police in law enforcement functions within their localities by performing low-risk and non-sensitive police functions.
”It’s agreed that a committee, consisting of policemen, other security agencies, the OPC led by Chief Gani Adams, Miyetti Allah and the citizenry should be set up in each state.
”This further discusses the modalities on the reduction of crime and criminalities as it affects the state,” Makinde stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governors of the Southwest states; Oyo – Makinde, and Osun – Gboyega Oyetola were present at the occasion while Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti were represented by their deputies.
They were Dr. Obafemi Hamzat- Lagos, Noimot Salako- Oyedele- Ogun, Agboola Ajayi- Ondo and Bisi Egbeyemi-Ekiti.