The police have recovered no fewer than 1,457 firearms in Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states.
While 1,178 guns were recovered in Ogun, 86 were taken in Osun State. About 178 and 15 rifles were recovered in Oyo and Ekiti states, respectively.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the guns were recovered from criminal suspects and some persons who surrendered them in compliance with the directive of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, that all illegal arms in the country be submitted.
Our correspondent in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, reported that the state police command said in additition to the 1,178 arms, it also recovered 2,266 rounds of ammunition.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, who spoke on Thursday while parading 27 suspects and cache of arms at the command headquarters, said the IG had directed that all illegal arms must be turned in within 21 days.
He said, “The various arms and ammunition were recovered within 21 days and from other operations carried out by our operatives.
“We recovered 24 AK-47 assault rifles, 66 pump-action guns, 1,088 single-barrelled and double-barrelled guns.
“Also, we recovered 1,025 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, as well as 1,241 rounds of live cartridges.”
He, however, said only one person had submitted prohibited firearm in the state.
The police boss said since the 21 days window for submission of such arms had lapsed, a task force, headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Aminu Al-Hassan, had been set up to go after those still keeping illegal arms.
Among the 27 suspects paraded were a car-snatching syndicate, whose members were one Akeem Aribido, Enitan Rasheed and Shobogun Gbenga.
They were caught after allegedly stealing a car from an 80-year-old man, Alhaji Ayinla Bello.
An Islamic cleric, Abduljelili Tajudeen, was also paraded for allegedly hypnotising and defrauding members of the public.
The suspect was alleged to have handed down a frightening prophecy of impending death to one of his clients and dispossessed him of a Toyota 4Runner Jeep, with the number plate, EKY 333 EA.
He allegedly warned the client not to drive the Jeep anymore until cleansing was done on it.
But the Islamic cleric was said to have kept the Jeep since April 2017.
A member of another syndicate that hijacked trucks loaded with goods, was also paraded.
Iliyasu said they had hijacked a truck loaded with fuel dispensing pumps, along Ijebu Ode-Sagamu Expressway, and drove same to Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said the receiver of the stolen goods, Waliyi Olasode, was arrested on Alawiye Street, in the Olunloyo area, Ibadan.
The Osun State Police Command said it recovered 86 firearms and 88 unexpended cartridges from criminals and some persons who surrendered them of their own volition.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, showed journalists the firearms at the police headquarters in Osogbo on Thursday.
The firearms recovered included AK-47 rifles, pump-action guns, locally-made guns, among others.
Adeoye explained that the recoveries were made within 12 months, adding that the police would not relent in their effort to mop up weapons and make the state safer for residents.
He said, “We know that firearms in the hands of wrong people constitute a major threat to peace in the society. We have a total of 86 assorted firearms and 88 unexpended cartridges.”
The CP explained that every firearm required authorisation from the IG and the President, while permits for the muzzle-loading firearms could be got from local government secretariats across the country.
He said, “Pump-action guns are categorised as prohibited firearms. Anyone caught with them will be dealt with accordingly.”
The Oyo State Police Command said it recovered a total of 178 guns and 840 rounds of ammunition in the state within the ultimatum issued by the IG.
While showing journalists the weapons at the police command headquarters in Ibadan, the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, said pump-action guns, imported pistols, single-barrelled guns, AK-47 guns and locally-made single-barrelled guns were among the recovered firearms in the state.
He said, “Among the recovered arms are 27 pump-action guns, 65 locally-made single-barrelled guns, 34 cut-to-size guns, 21 imported pistols, six AK-47 rifles, two Sterling sub-machine guns, three Berretta rifles, 504 cartridges and other ammunition. In all, we have recovered 178 guns and 840 rounds of ammunition.”
Odude said the command would soon begin house-to-house search for prohibited firearms.
The Ekiti State Police Command said aside from the recovery of 15 assorted rifles, it also arrested 12 suspects during the mopping up operations.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, said the effort was in line with the directive of the IG that all the 37 commands in the country should commence arms mopping up operation in their states.
Chafe, during a parade of suspects at the command headquarters on Thursday, warned his men against partisanship in the coming governorship election in the state.
One Ojo Tosin, Patrick Charles and Omoleewo Blessing were arrested for alleged stealing and shop breaking, while one Ajayi Kehinde, Obafemi Oke, Ahmed Yunusa and Daniel Oluwafemi, were arrested for alleged robbery and cultism.
One Seun Ajetomobi and Kolawole Julius, were arrested for alleged burglary and stealing.
The CP said the police recovered two rifles, pump-action guns, pistols, locally-made guns, charms, stolen property and axes from the suspects.
Chafe said the police would work with other sister security agencies to rid the state of crime.
“By April, electioneering will begin and political parties will commence campaigns. It will be dangerous to allow people to carry arms illegally.
“We enjoin associations, NGOs, the judiciary and other stakeholders to give helping hands to the police. I have told my men that they should be fair to all parties in this election time; they must not be partisan.
“As part of our responsibilities, we are determined to rid the state of crime,” he said.