The Benue State police command yesterday ordered all commanding and supervisory officers of the command to identify, disarm, arrest and prosecute individuals and groups carrying prohibited firearms in the state.
The directive came barely a week after Governor Samuel Ortom urged “the Federal Government to grant licence to responsible citizens to carry sophisticated weapons such as AK47 to deter criminals from attacking innocent and helpless Nigerians”.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mukaddas Mohammed Garba, who gave the directive, said the order became inevitable following a concern raised by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, over escalation in the proliferation of prohibited firearms across the country.
According to Garba, the IGP was worried that; “Several civil groups, quasi state and regional security outfits under various guises are arming themselves with rifles in contravention of the provision of Firearms Act LFN CAP. F28, 2004.
Part lI (3) of the Act stipulated that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm of one of the categories specified in part 1 of the schedule, except in accordance with a licence granted by the President acting in his discretion”.
CP Garba said in a statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene that; “The attention of the Inspector- General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, has been drawn to the increase in proliferation of prohibited firearms across the country.