The Police have arrested 45 suspects in Kogi in connection with kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the last three weeks.
The Inspector-General of police, Mr Solomon Arase, through the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Emannuel Ojukwu, announced the arrest in Lokoja on Monday at a news conference.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that following the spate of kidnapping in the state, the I-G deployed a Special Anti-Crime Task Force headed by CP Chris Ezike from Edo, to tackle the crime.
Ojukwu said the task force was deployed to Kogi on May 27 and supported by 300 mobile policemen drawn from across the country.
“The I-G charged the Task Force with the following: To appreciate the worrisome crime situation in Kogi and quickly design a template to contain the crime.
“To identify all criminal syndicates, their leaders/foot soldiers, sponsors and arrest them with operational precision.
“To identify kidnappers’ safe havens, hideouts and liberate victims,” he said.
The suspects included a politician (name withheld), said to have contested State House Assembly election for Okehi constituency on April 11, but lost.
Also arrested were a 72-year-old-man, said to be the uncle of an ex-Minister from the state, a woman, a cripple and some inmates, who escaped from prison during jails break in the state.
Ojukwu alleged that the politician was responsible for supplying arms and ammunition to robbers and kidnappers.
According to him, the uncle of the ex-minister had been on the police wanted list for alleged involvement in kidnapping.
He said 14 arms and ammunition, including AK 47rifle and double barrel guns, machetes, knives and charms were recovered from the suspects.
He said inter and intra communal conflicts, political thuggery, cultism, drug influence and the gateway nature of the state were some factors responsible for the spate of crime in the state.
Ojukwu also said that partly to blame were the activities of inmates and convicted criminals, who escaped from the Kotonkarfe Prisons during jail breaks in the state in 2013 and 2014.