The Federal Government on Monday said it would strengthen the Operation Puff Adder and Safer Highway in the South-West in addition to deployment of new fleet of patrol vehicles in the zone.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who said this in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the South-West geopolitical zone security summit at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, added that no fewer than 2,015 armed robbers and 1,154 kidnappers had been arrested this year.
Adamu said the police had used the Operation Puff Adder to stabilise security, adding, “We are moving to the next phase.”
He said, “We are launching the community policing strategy and are expanding and strengthening the Operation Puff Adder with other complimentary strategies.”
At the end of the summit, which lasted about five hours, the IG gave approval to deploy special forces in the six states of the South-West to be under a Commissioner of Police.
It was agreed that the Oodua Peoples Congress, traditional rulers and the governors of the zone would partner the police.
Another resolution at the summit was that community police officers would be recruited within the communities and committee of policemen, OPC, Miyetti Allah would be set up in each state, while the CCTV would be deployed in the states.
The IGP had earlier in his speech said 1,183 suspected cultists had been arrested in the country from January to date.
“The reality is that the current concerted operations of the police and other security agencies across the country, particularly along the Niger-Kogi-FCT-Kaduna-Kastina and Zamfara areas have engendered a dispersal and relocation of some of the criminals to new localities including the South-West.
“In response to this emerging trend, we have been evaluating and re-evaluating our operational strategies while strengthening our institutional capacity in relation to the generation of actionable intelligence and the conduct of special operations directed at proactively responding to criminal situations.
“I am delighted to note that the Operation Puff Adder which we inaugurated as a strategy to stabilise the security profile in the country and other strategies that we have put in place since January 2019 have so far been a success story.
“In consequence, between January and August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South-West. Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in the South-West, while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the South-West.
“Furthermore, 1,183 suspected cultists have also been arrested with 425 of this figure apprehended in south-western states. In relation to recoveries, 1,356 firearms of various calibre and description were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the police with 277 of such recoveries made in the South-West.
“The point being highlighted from these statistics is that the Nigeria Police Force in recent months have developed capacity and demonstrated the requisite professional zeal such that today, we can confidently say we have the institutional capability not only for preventive actions, but for responding effectively to any crime situation or threat with a view to locating and apprehending the criminal elements and disrupting their criminal enterprises across the country.
“It is this process that we call on you as strategic security stakeholders in the South-West to support us in strengthening and advancing the interest of our communal and internal security the IGP added.
The Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said the South-West governors also agreed to engage the use of vigilantes to tackle insecurity in the zone.
Akeredolu represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, said the use of vigilantes was as a result of the security summit held in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said, “Ondo State with other five states of the South-West in the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN Commission, are trying to engage our local vigilantes and collaborate with security agencies.
“This cannot be achieved without involving our traditional rulers who are the custodians of our culture; who know everybody in their communities. We are doing all of this so that we can sleep and close our two eyes.
“Apart from that, we have youths on the ridges. We are encouraging our youths to go into mechanised farming where they don’t need to go and look for a white-collar job. We have already secured N2bn loan from the CBN which will be available for anybody who is willing. We are doing all these to see that our environment is conducive and everybody is engaged,” Akeredolu added.
The host, Governor Seyi Makinde, also unveiled the security agenda of his administration before Adamu; Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and the representatives of other South-West governors.
Makinde said the recent deteriorating state of security in the South-West and the country at large, prompted the security summit of June 25th in Ibadan.
He said, “It was a consensus decision that measures should be put in place to address insecurity in the zone.