The Imo State Police command, on Tuesday, revealed that it had recovered a total number of 168 guns, 99 cartridges, 2,323 ammunitions and 25 empty magazines from unauthorised individuals in the state.
This was made known by the commissioner of police, CP Chris Okey Ezike while briefing newsmen at the premises of the police headquarters in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
According to him, the items recovered were in pursuit of the directive of IGP Ibrahim Idris that all prohibited illegally possessed fire arms by Nigerians be returned to the police for the betterment of society.
CP Ezike stressed that the mop up/ recovery exercise by the police had not only led to a reduction in the number of light and small but dangerous weapons within the state, but had equally led to a reduction in crime of various dimensions such as kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism/ cult related violence and brigandage.
“Firearms are facilitators of violence and the mop up of illegal arms will no doubt, restore peace to our community and keep our communities safe and secure,” he stated.
The CP assured that all suspects arrested in connection with the recoveries that were not voluntarily made were facing various charges in court, adding that the measure had become an exercise in proactivity aimed at checking the activities of would be political thugs as we journey towards 2019”.
Ezike similarly listed 17 arms/ammunitions/other items surrendered by repentant militants but which were in the custody of the military as: one rocket launcher with one grenade, five AK riffles with 16 magazines, one lar riftle with one magazine, one dynamite, 25 black pistols, and one locally made single barrel pistol.
Others were, seven single barrel guns, three double barrel guns, one triple barrel gun, and 130 rounds of AK47 ammunition.
The rest were, 19 rounds of LAR ammunition, three live cartridges, four military camouflage uniforms, one police black uniform, eight khaki uniforms, four military boots as well as police belts, three black berets and three red berets.
Specifically, the CP said that one Chibundu Ezeala from Ukuakabia Ehime Mbano LGA and Ihedioha Chizoba from Obowo, all in Imo State were arrested in connection with the murder of one Jude Emeka Onye from Amainyi, in the Ihitte Uboma Council area of the state.
According to him, the victim, aged 42 in the said Ihitte Uboma LGA, had just arrived his country home from Spain and after some days, briefly went out with some of his friends to have a nice time at a drinking joint.
According to Ezike, unknown to the victim, a gang of four, comprising the suspects who were armed with all sorts of dangerous weapons had all along trailed him.
“On sighting the victim, they quickly swooped on him and in attempt to escape, opened fire, killing him on the spot”.
Ezike, who attributed the upsurge of possession of illegal firearms in the country to smuggling through porous borders, local and illegal manufacture of arms/ammunitions, relics of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war in the country and seizure of rifles recovered from slain policemen by criminals, advised residents of the state to be much more security conscious especially when approaching their residence at night.
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