By Frank Oshanugor
No fewer than 24 dare devil political thugs armed with deadly weapons have been arrested by the police even as the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has approved the establishment of Electoral Offences Desk at the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Force Headquarters, Abuja, with the Commissioner of Police, FCID, as the Desk Officer.
The IGP has equally approved its establishment at State Commands across the nation with the Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Departments as State Desk Officers.
The mandate of the Electoral Offences Desk Officers includes the collation and investigation of all electoral offences/complaints from members of the public or any quarters, with a view to determining culpability in line with the amended Electoral Act 2022, and preferring charges before Courts of competent jurisdiction for necessary legal action.
The IGP has tasked the Desk to commence its activities immediately with some isolated cases recorded during the pre-election activities such as screening, conventions, primaries, etc.
In line with this mandate, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the Keffi Area Command of the Nasarawa State Command, acting on credible and actionable intelligence arrested twenty-four suspected political thugs at Minki Suites, along Keffi-Akwanga Road.
The thugs suspected to be loyal to an aspirant in the Nasarawa West Senatorial primaries came into the hotel in a convoy of seven private vehicles. Items recovered from the arrested suspects include; eight (8) pump action guns, two (2) locally made revolver guns, thirty-seven (37) rounds of live cartridges, four (4) bulletproof vests, twenty-seven (27) mobile phones, two (2) pairs of vigilante uniforms, five (5) cutlasses, ten (10) assorted knives, criminal charms, and other incriminating objects.
According to police spokesman Chief Superintendent of Police, (CSP) Olumuyiwa Adejobi in a statement on Tuesday said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects, who were thugs for hire, carried out their heinous acts under the guise of being members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN).
The statement added the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the immediate transfer of the case to the Electoral Offences Desk at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) and the immediate arrest of the concerned aspirant for necessary investigative actions. Baba reiterated the commitment of the Force to stamping out threats to peaceful and credible elections at all levels, even as he vowed to deal decisively with anyone caught engaging in political thuggery.