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The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the police planned to mop up illegal arms in the country ahead of the 2015 elections.

Speaking at a meeting with deputy inspectors-general, assistant inspectors-general, commissioners and security experts, Abba said the police was also stepping up preparation to ensure a safe and hitch-free exercise in line with international best practices.

He said that mopping up the illegal arms, especially among supporters of politicians, would be stepped up to ensure a violence-free atmosphere before, during and after the elections.

“The mopping up of arms is a continuous exercise, but what we are doing now is laying emphasis on it in view of the up-coming elections and the fact that campaigns will begin in a few days.

“We know that some of the supporters of these politicians get themselves armed to intimidate and unleash havoc but we have a responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

“We are already putting in place strategies and re-doubling our efforts to ensure that we deal with these issues and ensure free and fair elections come 2015,’’ he said.

The inspector-general warned those in possession of illegal arms to voluntarily submit them to the police or risk being fished out and prosecuted according to the laws of the land.

He directed the commissioners of police in the 36 states and the FCT to step up surveillance and monitoring in this regard.

He said the police had also increased its synergy with other security agencies not only for the forth-coming elections but to tackle insurgency and other acts of criminality.

On the fight against insurgency, Abba confirmed that some 30 police officers were still missing following the attack on the police training college in Gwoza, Borno in August.

He, however, expressed optimism that they would soon be re-united with their families.

Abba said that one of the missing police officers had “just last week’’ reported to his place of work.

He pledged that the police would continue to do their best to rescue the remaining officers while giving support to their families.

Earlier, the inspector-general launched the NPF Human Rights Practice Manual and the NPF Human Rights Desk Officers Manual which were intended to guide the police against human right abuses and ensure professionalism.

He pledged to ensure that all policemen got copies of the manual and to ensure continuous training for them to be more people-friendly.

Abba appealed to members of the public to also cooperate with the police to ensure a better nation.

Mrs Simone Heri, the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who was also present at the meeting, said the UN would continue to collaborate and support the police to make it more professional.

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