The Lagos State Police Command has raised alarm over the increasing fabrication of a wide range of firearms, including both locally-made and imported weapons such as pistols, AK-47 rifles, and other assault rifles within the state. Mr. Idowu Owohunwa, the head of the command, revealed this disconcerting trend during the visit of the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to Lagos.
Owohunwa emphasized that the complex demographic and socio-economic landscape of Lagos posed unique security challenges. He pointed out that the state’s security environment has been marked by threats like cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, and instances of sexual and gender-based violence. Additionally, he noted the challenge of differentiating between civil and criminal aspects of land disputes, which have been prevalent in the state.
The police commissioner highlighted that the crime profile in Lagos was further complicated by the proliferation of illegal firearms and the illicit trade and consumption of drugs. He revealed that the police frequently recover weapons and drugs of various kinds during stop-and-search operations, raids of criminal hideouts, and other law enforcement activities. These recoveries are often linked to the commission of various crimes across the state.
Of particular concern to the police is the emerging trend of local firearm fabrication. Owohunwa expressed worries about the growing expertise within the local criminal ecosystem to manufacture replicas of foreign pistols, AK-47 rifles, and other types of assault weapons. This alarming development, when combined with the cultism threat, presents a significant danger to the overall security situation in Lagos.
The commissioner also addressed the issue of traffic congestion and the sporadic incidents of traffic-related robberies, which have been exacerbated by ongoing road construction projects across the state, including the Lagos-Ibadan highway.
In light of these challenges, the Lagos State Police Command is planning to organize a conference. The conference aims to bring together stakeholders, governance levels, and strategic partners to discuss and address the growing concerns related to cultism and violent crimes in Lagos. The goal is to develop comprehensive strategies to mitigate the evolving threats and ensure the safety and security of the state’s residents.