The Nigerian Police said it had arrested 2,175 suspects since April 5 this year amidst efforts by the security to stem the tide of crime and violence in Nigeria, adding that armed robbery, kidnapping and murder are on the top of list of crimes escalating in the country.
However, SaraReporters could not independtly verify the figure.
The security agency said police operatives attached to the Operation Puff Adder had also rescued 63 kidnap victims within the period and called for tougher legislation against kidnapping and banditry, including the seizure of assets linked to these crimes.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, made the disclosure while addressing a delegation of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Nasarawa State chapter, who visited him in Abuja.
According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, the IG stated that the 2,175 suspects included 852 arrested for kidnapping, 865 for armed robbery, 359 for murder and 99 for cultism.
Mba said, “The IG called for tougher legislation against kidnapping and banditry, including possible state seizure of assets linked to illicit proceeds from kidnapping and other crimes. This, the IGP believes, will act as a strong disincentive to potential kidnappers and other criminals.
“The IG stated that since the launch of Operation Puff Adder on April 5, 63 kidnapped victims had been rescued by the police.
“In a similar vein, 2,175 suspects were arrested. With respect to arms recovery, the IG noted that 834 arms, including two rocket launchers and 19,009 live ammunition, were recovered, with Oyo State recording the highest number of 9,500 live ammunition.
“The IG stated that the police were re-jigging their strategies to ensure proactive interception of illicit weapons destined for our country and at the same time mop up unauthorised weapons from circulation.
“He added that a good number of the cases were already being prosecuted in courts, while many others were still under investigation.”
Meanwhile, no fewer than 60 suspected bandits, popularly called ‘Sara-Suka’, have been arrested within the Bauchi metropolis.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Kamal Abubakar, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday.
According to him, the bandits were arrested following intelligence report that led to the raid of criminal hotspots in the metropolis.
He said the Operation Puff Adder operatives, in collaboration with other units in the command and volunteers, carried out the raids.
Abubakar said, “Between June 2 and 4, 2019, intelligence-led raids were carried out by the combined efforts of the command’s Operation Puff Adderteam of the Rapid Response Squad, Anti-Kidnapping Unit, State Intelligence Bureau, ‘A’ Division and volunteer members on identified criminal hotspots in Bauchi metropolis.
“A total of 60 notorious ‘Sara-Suka’ thugs were arrested during the raids.”
The PPRO added that exhibits recovered from the hoodlums included two knives, 11 machetes and eight sachets of assorted illicit drugs.
He also said a tactical team of the Operations Puff Adder, while acting on intelligence, arrested two suspected car thieves.
The suspects, Audu Daniel, 29, from the Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, and John Samuel, 22, from the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, were apprehended for allegedly stealing a Lexus SUV valued at N4 million.