The Police have arrested 47 suspects for allegedly being involved in kidnapping, unlawful possession of weapons and other criminal offences.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, announced this at a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mba said the 47 suspects were linked to various offences, including armed robbery, murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of weapons, cattle rustling, and house-breaking.
“A total of 321 rounds of live AK 47 ammunitions, nine pistols, 10 AK 49 rifles, seven AK 47 rifles and 864 rounds of live cartridges were discovered from them.
“Cash totalling N258,570 and other incriminating items were also recovered from the suspects, not forgetting 583 pieces of camouflage,” he added.
The FPRO disclosed further that the Police had among the suspects members of a kidnapping syndicate who had been on the wanted list of their operatives for quite a while now.
“Members of the syndicate belonged to a well-organised kidnapping enterprise were arrested fully dressed in the uniform of the. Nigerian Army,” he said.
Mba also said the suspects carried out their operations largely within the Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina axis.
“The suspects were reporting directly to another group, who was their commander and had also been on the wanted list of Police, with over 100 men who directly work under him.
“The suspects confirmed that they collect ransom from their victims’ relatives before releasing them.
“But for those that their relatives couldn’t afford the ransom, they usually took permission from their commander to kill the victims,” he said.
Mba said another suspect, a 58-year-old man, was arrested with 864 live cartridges transporting from eastern part of the country to Taraba State.
He said the live cartridges discovered were hidden in a bag containing second-hand clothes popularly known as “okrika”.
“The suspect usually handed over the live cartridges to the people over there in a village in Taraba and they in return would give him bush meat to return to Abia with.
“But the suspect does not have the licence to sell or move live ammunitions.”
The FPRO assured that every single person who had facilitated the purchase or the movement of those arms would certainly be arrested.
He warned other criminal elements in the society to desist from criminal or shady activities, saying there would be no hiding place for them henceforth.
“We say this, repeatedly, that no matter how smart you are as a criminal, you have a very short life span within the criminal enterprise.
“No matter how tough you think you are as a criminal, we will always get you. It is bad enough for you to commit crimes out there, but it is worse when you begin to take the lives of police officers, soldiers and other members of our Armed Forces.
“It’s a crime to take the lives of other members of the law enforcement community, who are charged with that sacred duty of protecting lives and properties.
“And when you do that in addition to other crimes you committed, you do not only provoke us but also God in heaven, and you will never have a hiding place,” Mba said.
He then assured that as Nigerians celebrate the country’s 60th year since becoming independent, the Police’s commitment as the lead agency in internal security remains unshaken.
“We will continue to do everything within our reach to keep this country safe, to keep lives protected and to keep businesses moving forward,” The FPRO stated.