By Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha 

Ebonyi state police command has inaugurated a Police Joint Taskforce Enforcement Team, headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the command’s Operations Department to mop up illegal firearms in the State.

The command’s public relations officer, DSP Loveth Odah, disclosed this in a press release made available to journalists in Abakaliki, on Monday, August 16, 2020.

Odah said the taskforce was inaugurated by the command’s Commissioner, CP Philip Maku adding that they have commenced the total enforcement of firearms act and ban of possession and the use of illegal and prohibited firearms, ammunitions, weapons as well as devices locally fabricated or modified across Ebonyi state.

She said that the commissioner warned persons and groups to voluntarily submit firearms in their unlawful possession as offenders will not be spared.

He gave those in possession of illegal arms 14days from August 16, 2020 to surrender them to the Task Force team or any nearest Police Station they are domiciled.

The statement reads, “In line with the Inspector-General of Police directives to all the Command Commissioners of police and other Police formations to mop up, seize and recover all prohibited and other illegal firearms and ammunitions, weapons and devices, locally fabricated or modified that can cause death or Injury on persons across the state.

This is sequel to proliferation of the firearms among many groups, including Vigilante, Militia and all other groups. It is important to redraw the attention of the general public to Part II (3) of the schedule of the Firearms Act L.N32 of 1959 which prohibited the possession of firearms mentioned in Part 1 of Firearms Act except in accordance with a license granted by Mr. President.

“To this end, The Commissioner of Police, CP Philip Sule Maku, has set up a Police Joint Task Enforcement Team headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of command’s Operations Department with a mandate to commence the mop-up, seizure and recovery of all illegal and prohibited firearms and ammunitions from unauthorized persons, suspected Militias groups, criminal/unlawful gangs. The operation will equally include cordon, 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.

“The CP further warns members of the general public, individuals and groups such as vigilantes, town unions, hunters and Neighbourhood Watch/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, in possession of illegal arms to surrender them.

“Those in possession of such Firearms are given fourteen (14) days from today, 16th August, 2020 to surrender them to the Task Force team of any nearest Police Station they are domiciled”, according to the release.

“This Operation which among other purposes, is aimed at full enforcement of the Firearms Act, mopping-up and recovery of all prohibited firearms and illegally acquired weapons will enable the Command deal decisively with the prevailing security challenges ranging from kidnappings, armed robbery, banditry, cattle rustling and other related crimes in the state.

“Area Commanders and DPOs are under strict instruction by the Commissioner of Police to carry out and enforce this Act in totality in their respective areas of responsibility. They were also directed to convey a security stakeholders meeting immediately to sensitize and educate the members of the general public on this development.

“The renewed commitment of the Command to guarantee safety and security of Lives and properties across the state remains unambiguous and unwavering”.

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