As part of measures to reduce casualties resulting from the misuse of firearms by officers on patrol, the Nigeria Police Force through its Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, has announced that it will replace firearms with stun guns this year.
Arase, who disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday at the Police Commissioners Conference, held in Abuja, also said that police management was considering swapping officers who have stayed more than three months in the Northeast to avoid deterioration of their health, with Arase admitting to the increased rate of kidnapping, which is a challenge to the Force.
The meeting addressed the rate of kidnapping nationwide, deployment of personnel and logistics towards the restoration of civil authority in areas liberated from terror elements in the Northeast, cattle rustling and robbery, and other organised crimes.
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In Arase’s words,
Right now, what we are trying to do is to discourage issuing firearms to police officers, who go on metro patrol, and that is why we are thinking of introducing stun guns this year.
Stun guns can incapacitate you, demobilize you but they will not kill you. So, in case there is a mistake, then we will be able to ensure that the fatality is not such that will result in death.
It is also true that from our statistics that we have internal mechanism for dealing with people who engage in misuse of firearms and I must tell you that a lot of them have been dismissed but it is not every day you will see it on the pages of the paper that they have been dismissed.
On the kidnapping issue, in my opening remark, I mentioned that we have serious challenges with kidnapping in some areas in the country because it is not all over the country and once these things happen, the way the press publicize it gives the impression that there is a near state of anomie but this is not true.
We have a new challenge now in Lagos because after we have been able to mop up the bank robbers that come from the waterways, it looks as if they have found a new vocation in kidnapping, especially in Festac and Amuwo Odofin.
We are addressing those issues and I can assure you that those people will be caught. It takes time though; you know crime is always committed but the indomitable fighting spirit of the police force has to be strengthened and that is what we are trying to do.
Also, the supervisory role of the commissioners of police, divisional commanders, area commanders must be strengthened because I think that is where we are having a gap and I can assure you that we will make sure that we resolve it.