1,190 ‘bandits, kidnappers’, others in police net, says Gaidam

…Briefs on police ministry’s achievements

The Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, on Friday said 1,190 suspects arrested by the police are currently undergoing interrogation over issues of kidnapping, banditry amongst others.

Giving account of his stewardship since assumption of office on August 2023 at the ministerial sectoral update held at the Radio House, Abuja, he said the administration has acquired surveillance systems, drones and communication technologies to bolster the Force’s capacity for real-time data collection and response.

The minister said the integration of forensic technology has played a pivotal role in criminal investigations and perpetrator identification.

He disclosed that the police had also formed a joint taskforce to target transnational criminal syndicates and enhancing collaboration with neighboring nations to tackle cross-border criminal activities.

“To combat kidnapping, banditry, and violent crimes in the Federal Capital Territory, the Police have bolstered the deployment of specialized units with expertise in counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and intelligence analysis. These tactical squads have proven effective in addressing the complex challenges posed by criminal activities in the FCT.

“Notable among these units are the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Crack Squad, and the Anti-Violent Crime Unit within the FCT Command, along with the newly established Special Intervention Squad (SIS). These tactical deployments have resulted in the apprehension of 1,190 suspects who are currently undergoing screening and interrogation.

“In the past year, we have made significant strides in the following areas: Establishment of the National Criminal Data Fusion Center (NCDFC) for the Nigeria Police Force: This center serves as a platform for collaboration among various Law Enforcement Agencies to consolidate criminal data, conduct analysis, and share key intelligence products to bolster internal security operations. Additionally, it facilitates intelligence sharing with Security Agencies in Nigeria and the broader International Security Community.

“Strengthening of the West African Police Information System (WAPIS): The legal framework supporting WAPIS has been reinforced, and key security institutions are now equipped with WAPIS terminals, enabling access to crucial information that has greatly enhanced collaborative efforts to combat criminal activities.

“Launch of the Special Intervention Squad (SIS): On January 17, 2024, the Nigeria Police Force introduced the Special Intervention Squad (SIS) in the Federal Capital Territory to address the rise in violent crimes within the nation’s capital. Since its inception, the squad has achieved notable successes, including the arrest of twenty-three suspects for offenses such as kidnapping, armed robbery, and unlawful possession of firearms. Additionally, the squad has recovered multiple arms, ammunitions, and over 20 stolen vehicles.”

On the enhanced highways and train safety measures, the minister said strategic tactical deployments have bolstered security along the Abuja-Kaduna highway and train service route, adding that Nigeria Police Force has recently apprehended and paraded 63 suspects linked to violent crimes along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway in Kaduna state.

He explained that the ministry has facilitated the promotion of 3,071 education officers within the police education system, ranging from salary grade levels 17 down to Level 07, who were owed arrears for over five years.

According to Gaidem, the Police Pension Bill was under review to enhance the welfare of police officers and also establishment of the Nigeria Police Veterans Foundation to support retired police officers.

On unpaid of pension to police retirees, the minister said the federal government had setup a committee to investigate the case, noting that: “The IGP has presented the issue to government and everything is been done to make sure that the backlog pensions are paid and it will become regular thereafter.”