Operatives of the Intelligence Response Team led by its Commander, Tunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, have apprehended four suspected kidnappers terrorising Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, and Katsina states.
This was as the police arrested no fewer than 43,329 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists, murderers, and cultists between April 2021 and April 2022.
The kidnap kingpins, identified as Mamadi Musa, Tukur Sifawa, Tasiu Abubakar, and Suleiman Haruna, were said to have been involved in the murder of 37 riot police officers in an operation in the Kusu Forest, Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State in 2018.
According to a police report, seen by our correspondent on Thursday, the suspects who hailed from Zamfara identified their leaders as Alhaji Salisu Nashama and Adamu Sukabe.
It said the suspects were nabbed in Kaduna on May 11, 2022, while trying to repair two Toyota Hilux vans believed to be their operational vehicles.
It stated, “The notorious gang has more than 70 AK47 rifles as their operational weapons. Their gang leaders were responsible for the gruesome murder of more than 37 police mobile force men during an operation in Kusu Forest, Birnin Magaji LGA in 2018, and carted away their operational weapons.
“The suspects were arrested in possession of two Hilux vehicles suspected to be their operational vehicles. They brought the vehicles to Kaduna for repairs.”
While lauding the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, for enhancing the operational efficiency of the police, the report said efforts were ongoing to arrest other gang members and recover the missing police weapons.
Meanwhile, statistics made available by the Force Headquarters to our correspondent said the police arrested 43,329 suspects comprising 4,209 persons for murder; 4,282, robbery; 2,175, kidnapping; 3,503, cultism, and 29,160 for other undisclosed offences.
The report further disclosed that 2,621 sophisticated firearms and 51,431 ammunition were recovered from crime suspects between April 2021 and April 2022.
The force also recovered 995 stolen vehicles and rescued 2,996 kidnapped victims.
The report revealed that 57,696 cases were being prosecuted in court, adding that 16,463 persons had been convicted for various crimes.
Police spokesman, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, stated, “As could be seen from the statistics, the Nigeria Police Force has recorded significant achievements under IGP Usman Baba, between April 2021 and April 2022, in the fight against crime, ranging from murder/culpable homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, rape, and other violent crimes.”
But a security analyst, Mr. Afolabi Solanke, expressed doubts about the police conviction record, noting that it is impossible to achieve this within a year.
He also advised the police to conduct a diligent search of vehicles during ‘stop and search operations,’ adding that the operatives can successfully thwart crimes and recover weapons stowed in vehicles.
Solanke added, “Most of the officers at roadblocks are more interested in collecting tips from motorists. They don’t conduct proper searches of vehicles. When I recently travelled to Ekiti, I witnessed police officers at checkpoints waving off vehicles without searching them after collecting money. They were even collecting change from the motorists.
“If they can improve their ‘stop and search,’ that would help. The bandits and kidnappers don’t trek; they use vehicles. They convey guns and kidnapped victims in tinted vehicles and pass through checkpoints without being intercepted. These are things the authorities should address to make the policy effective.”