Nigerian police arrest over 21,000 ‘violent crime’ suspects

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Nigeria’s police chief has said 21,296 suspects allegedly involved in “violent crimes”, including kidnapping and armed robbery, were arrested in the country last year.

Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu gave the figures while reviewing police operations over the past one year at the Criminal Investigation Department and the Force Intelligence Bureau in the capital Abuja.

He did not say whether any of those arrested had been prosecuted or even convicted.

But a statement from the police spokesperson Frank Mba says “all suspects will be charged” in court on conclusion of investigations.

Rights groups have long accused the Nigerian police of arbitrary arrests and detentions without trial, which they often deny.

In October 2020, the country was rocked by anti-police brutality protests with the #EndSARS hashtag which went viral.

Giving a further breakdown of their scorecard, the Nigerian police said 3,347 firearms and 133, 496 ammunition were recovered from suspects during the year while a total of 1002 kidnap victims were “safely rescued” and reunited with their families.

As Nigeria continues to experience frequent incidents of kidnapping for ransom and other forms of violent crimes, the police boss has promised better security in 2021 saying they would adopt “aggressive, proactive, intelligence-driven and community-based crime fighting strategies”.