The Bayelsa State Police Command has said that the activities of cult groups and criminal gangs remain the major driver of violent crimes in the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Don Awunah, at a news conference in Yenagoa on Monday, said in the renewed onslaught on cultists, the Anti Cultism Unit of the command had arrested over 50 confessed members of different cult groups.
He said some of the suspects had been charged to court while others were still undergoing investigation.
He also said the police smashed 15 armed robbery gangs, dislodged 15 drug peddlers and recovered 49 firearms.
Awunah said that with passage of Secret Cults/Societies and Similar Activities Prohibition (Amendment) Law, 2018 by the state government, the state had further empowered the police to clamp down decisively on cultists and cult-related violence in the state.
On the achievements of the command since the introduction of ‘Operation Safer Bayelsa’, Awunah said the command had summonted the enormous challenges of confronting armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists and drug dealers.
He said the police had also mopped up arms and illegal weapons from the possession of unauthorised individuals in the state.
He said, “The proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country has fueled internal insecurity in the country. It is against this background that the Inspector General of Police directed commissioners of Police to mop up arms and ammunition in the country.
“In Bayelsa, despite the intervention of Amnesty programme, considerable numbers of illegal arms and ammunition are in circulation in Bayelsa.
“In compliance with the IGP directive, the command has been able to mop up 49 illegal firearms in the hands of criminal elements in the state.
“Similarly, the command has equally, deliberately targeted and smashed a cluster of 15 armed robbery gangs and arrested suspects, recovered arms and ammunition and stolen properties. These directly led to the reduction of crime rate in the state to a tolerable level.”
On drug abuse, the CP said the command, through actionable intelligence and with the cooperation of members of the public, had dislodged about 15 drug peddlers in the state.
“The dislodgement led to the disruption of their supply chain and 12 firearms of different calibres, narcotics, weeds suspected to be marijuana were recovered from the drug peddlers (traffickers).”
Meanwhile, the authorities of the state Police Command have passed a vote of confidence on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, over his policy direction, logistical support and adoption of democratic policing.
The CP, Awunah, said the support for the IGP was based on his support and motivation which had led the command to record huge achievements in the arrest of over 50 suspected cultists, 15 armed robbery gangs, 15 drug peddlers and recovery of 49 firearms.
He said, “The Inspector General of Police has remained an ardent believer in principles and core values of community policing. A paradigm shift from reactionary traditional policing, a driver of the change mantra in police and a crusader of police reforms.
“A resource person in international policing styles and culture of excellence, an epitome of ethical leadership and true believer in the Nigerian project.”