Benue State Police Commissioner, Ene Okon, yesterday raised the alarm that some desperate politicians were arming thugs with prohibited firearms to cause mayhem, inflict injuries and maim innocent citizens ahead the 2019 general elections.
Okon made the allegation during his maiden media briefing at the Command’s Headquarters in Makurdi.
The commissioner vowed to lead his men to launch a manhunt for sponsors of violent youths, adding that anyone caught illegally bearing arms would severely be dealt with no matter how highly placed.
He said: “Information has reached the command that some desperate politicians are arming thugs with prohibited firearms. These politicians that do not mean well for Benue State arm these thugs in order to cause mayhem or inflict injuries or maim opponents or innocent citizens of the state.
“I will principally go after the sponsors of these thugs because if they do not give these thugs the arms, the thugs will not operate. I therefore, warn the general public especially politicians to desist from illegal acquiring, distributing and using arms as anyone caught illegally bearing arms and their sponsors would be severely dealt with according to the law.”
Okon also advised politicians to eschew violence in their campaigns.
The police boss advised politicians to sell themselves to the electorate instead of resorting to the use of arms to intimidate, harass, maim or kill opponents. He also warned members of the public, including politicians, to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace of the state.
Okon, who paraded over 14 suspected criminals shortly after the briefing, listed a catalogue of the milestones recorded within three months of assumption of duty in the state, ranging from arrest of armed robbery suspects to recovery of various stolen items.
The commissioner announced the arrest of an armed robbery suspect, Aondowase Emberga, dressed in the Nigerian Army camouflage who had been attacking people on Makurdi-Lafia Road by men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) drafted to the road to checkmate activities of criminals.
He said Emberga, a married man, who was arrested on September 7, had confessed to be a member of a six-man gang who earlier exchanged fire with security personnel.
Okon disclosed the arrest of another robbery suspect, Joseph Egbe, at No. 6 Rice Mill Road, Otukpo, who claimed to be a vigilante leader at Choices Suites, with a fabricated single-barrelled revolver gun.
According to him, on interrogation Egbe told his interrogators the source of the gun which led to the arrest of Austin Elaigwu also of Otukpo town and Austine Eneyo with three additional arms.
The commissioner added that five other robbery suspects – Abah Dedon Kena, Alfous Amabo, Obono Ubi, Ibor Bassey and Obetan Sunday – were arrested with 378 live ammunition of various calibre, a telescope, two knives, assorted charms and a black Toyota Camry car with registration number FST 51 AR Lagos.
Three other robbery suspects, Terungwa Tyowua (25), Aondowase Yese and Terhide Iorsase of Gboko and Ugbema in Buruku local government areas, Okon added, were also arrested with sophisticated weapons, including three locally-made pistols, two live cartridges, one Honda motorcycle which was snatched from a commercial motorcyclist at gunpoint on Ugbema-Jato Aka Road.
Okon assured the people of the state of the command’s renewed resolve to ensure that crime is reduced to its barest minimum.
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