This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Robbers Kill 39 Policemen in 154 Operations in Lagos

A total of 39 policemen were killed in Lagos State last year, while the police in turn recovered 16,034 ammunition, arrested 472 suspected armed robbers and killed about 146 in a gun duel during the numerous armed robbery operations that occurred in the state, a newly compiled data have revealed.

This is just as assaults, stealing, obtaining of money under false pretence, rape, murder, forgery, burglary and armed robbery topped the crime chart in the state last year with 1,200, 550, 1,161, 132, 111, 178, 200 and 154 figures respectively.

The state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, made this disclosure yesterday at the state command during a world press briefing to intimate journalists on the achievements of the command in 2013, security and otherwise.

In the comprehensive data made available to THISDAY, the commissioner revealed that while 39 gallant officers were gunned down in 154 armed robbery operations across the state, the police in turn killed over 146 armed and arrested 472.

Also, the data contained the list of 111 murder cases with March, April, June, September, October and November 2013 taking the lead with 20 cases each, while 390 armed robbery operations were foiled across the state.

The command equally recovered 919 vehicles during the year even though only 254 and 272 vehicles were either snatched or removed respectively from where they were parked by the owners while five vehicles were driven away.

The data however showed that crime had reduced significantly in the state compared to 2012 which had a high record of murder, assaults, stealing, traffic offences and child theft, among other vices.

Manko said in all the successes recorded by the command, over 390 and 16,034 arms and ammunition respectively were recovered from the numerous armed robbery operations foiled by the police.

He said: "The challenge of policing the state is enormous considering her cosmopolitan nature and prime position as the economic nerve centre of the country. Since the command was poised to rid the state of criminals, we embraced intelligence-driven crime combating strategies under the mission statement: 'Zero Level Tolerance for Crime'.

"In 2013, the command introduced an internal security scheme known as 'Operation Shango, Seven Cities Project and CTU'. With the scheme being set out in sequence, actions would be taken by police and other sister forces in dealing promptly and effectively with criminals.

"To combat and counter crime, the command has introduced convoy patrol systems with adequate supervision. The dare devilish manner with which armed robbers operate in Lagos and it's environ was matched by a striking force comprising the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)."

Manko also said the efforts of SARS were backed by the Mobile Police Personnel, CTU and the well equipped and motivated Rapid Response Squad (RRS) personnel as well as a detachment from the PMF manning strategically positioned Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) 24 hours.

On the notion that arrested criminals walk the streets as freemen, the commissioner called for an improved criminal justice system which would guarantee faster and impartial dispensation of justice.

According to him, "Imagine a situation where hoodlums are taken to court and a few weeks later, they are seen hovering around again in the area in the midst of armless citizens. The maxim, 'justice delayed is justice denied' and 'justice must not only be done, but must be seen done' should be the watch word.

"It is pertinent that an appropriate and proportionate punishment be awarded at all times to guarantee the sanctity of the society and promote the rule of law.

Manko however said the command had faced some constraints of being dynamic in the sense that criminals naturally attempt to evolve new trends and patterns to thwart the efforts being made by the police.

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