Police To Shoot Lagos Armed Robbers At Sight

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The fight against rising violent crime in Nigeria's economic capital of Lagos is taking a new turn with the decision by the police to henceforth shoot armed robbers at sight.
Lagos police spokesman Victor Chilaka told journalists in Lagos that the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro, had ordered his men to use the new strategy to check the alarming wave of armed robbery in the city.
"From now on, armed robbers caught at the scenes of crime in the Lagos State area are to be shot on the spot," Chilaka said Tuesday.
"Since their number is increasing like ants and bedbugs, and they are taking joy in killing police officers who try to disarm them, the Commissioner of Police has decided to adopt this measure not only to drastically reduce growing number of robbers, but also to save the lives of policemen who.
protect lives and property," he said.
At least a dozen policemen have been killed by armed robbers in the past month alone, as the level of violent crime in the overcrowded economic capital shot to an all-time high.
The robbers have also targeted the rich and the influential in the society, with former Chief Justice of the Federation, Atanda Fatai-Williams, and millionaire businessman Michael Ibru, among their latest victims.
Both survived the attacks, unlike a host of others who were killed by the robbers.
Chilaka said in addition to the shoot-at-sight order, the police are to respond to distress calls in a team of at least three patrol vehicles to increase their fire-power.
Under intense pressure to curb the rising crimes, Okiro recently announced that security was to be beefed up in Lagos with the deployment of hundreds of the rugged anti-riot unit to join the regular police and the State's anti-robbery squad, Rapid Response Squad (RRS).
Of particular concern to the police is the reported plan by the State government to call out the banned Yoruba militia group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), to help check the robberies.
There is no love lost between the police and the OPC, whose members have clashed several times in the past over the latter's involvement in the arrest and killing of armed robbers and other offenders without recourse to the police or the courts.
State Governor Bola Tinubu has consistently complained about the inability of the centralised, poorly-trained and ill-equipped Federal police to provide adequate security in the State, and urged the federal government to allow the creation of State police.
Lagos State with over 10 million people has only 12,000 policemen, a far cry from the 38,000, Okiro said would be needed to ensure the security of lives and property there.
Traumatised citizens are awaiting the outcome of a pledge by the US to assist the country in fighting crime through police training.

20 june 2001 13:16:00

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