Violent crimes and security breaches recorded across Nigeria have “tremendously” reduced in the last quarter of the year, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has said.
He said this was as a result of “peace initiatives and the dialogues initiated through the federal government’s security summits”.
Mr Adamu said the reductions are evident when security mishaps recorded in previous quarters are compared with the current situation.
“We just finished a security meeting and we have noticed within this quarter that the security situation in the country is stable,” the police boss said. “We saw that there is a tremendous decrease in the kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and even acts of cultism.”
The official spoke in an interview with State House correspondents on Thursday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the government’s amnesty programme for bandits was helpful in stemming insecurity.
The Katsina State Government last week released nine bandits from the custody of security agencies in exchange for five persons abducted by the bandits.
Though Mr Adamu said the force “has statistics to back its claim of reduced violent crimes across the country”, no fewer than 36 persons were killed and nine others kidnapped in reported violent crimes across Nigeria last week, a PREMIUM TIMES security analysis showed.
The IGP also detailed what the force is doing to stem the tide of insecurity across the country during the short interview with reporters.
Q: What have you done differently in security in the last quarter?
Adamu: What we have done apart from the peace initiative and the dialogues is that we came up with organisation of security summit, if you remember we went to the Northwestern zone of this country, we sat down with the traditional rulers and all the governors and the leadership of Miyetti Allah and they identified some of the challenges that are fueling kidnapping and banditry.
Those challenges were looked into to the extent that the bandits and kidnappers have decided to release their captives and surrendered their arms, that has contributed and also those that have refused to accept the peace initiative.
We have been able to identify their camps especially Abuja-Kaduna road and along Birnin Gwari Niger axis and we went to the camps of these kidnappers and we dislodged some of the camps.
In fact, in the security briefing we gave specific numbers of the camps that we have destroyed and the casualties the bandits recorded as a result of that. So that has also made them surrender and some of them relocated and we are following those that have relocated to know the new location and also engage them.
You can see the situation in North-west, banditry has reduced tremendously. Kidnapping also has gone down and we have statistics to back it. And having noticed that, we have been charged by Mr President to do more.
He wants to see a mere zero crime society in the whole of the country. So we have been charged to do more than what we are doing now in fact, in the whole of the country.
Recently, there have been a series of peace initiatives especially the Tiv/Jukun crisis, the federal government came up with initiatives by bringing the leadership of the two states and their traditional rulers and we have been asked to support that initiative and see to it that dialogue succeeds and that there is peace between the Jukun and Tivs.
We have also been charged to increase security along the pipelines to make sure that crude oil theft is stopped completely because the loss that the country is facing in that area is not tolerated. So we have been charged to increase our security activities in that direction to make sure that crude oil theft is stopped completely.
Q: What is the statistics of crime in first, second and third quarters?
Adamu: When we are talking about peace initiatives, there are a lot of things that we take into consideration, you give out something to get something. And this peace initiative did not start with the bandits in the Northwestern part of this country with the bandits. If you remember some years back, we were having issues in the Niger Delta and those issues could not be solved until amnesty and peace initiative came up and what we had in Niger Delta has gone.
So, I think part of the strategy to deal with challenges in terms of either security or war, there is peaceful negotiation too. So it is not that you are a bandit and on the course of the banditry, you committed crime. You must be punished when there is peace initiative going on. If you refused to accept the peace initiative, of course, you have to face the consequences.
Currently, we have about 20 different points we monitor on a daily basis through CCTV cameras within FCT and we are expanding it to cover the remaining areas. So one of the strategies to stop all this type of crime whether it is car theft or burglary or anything that has to do with theft in the city is the use of CCTV and constant patrol for prevention.
Q: Are you proposing the federal government’s amnesty programmes for the bandits?
Adamu: It is not like comparison per se but giving an example of how negotiation and dialogue can bring peace. Even in terms of war, you go into dialogue so as to achieve certain level of peace. So if dialogue can bring peace, why do you have to use force, that is what I am just trying to say.