The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno says it has commenced house-to-house search for arms in the state which has witnessed ceaseless bombings and drive-by shootings by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Lt.Col. Hassan Mohammed , the JTF spokesman, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri on Tuesday that the exercise would be backed by an air surveillance to track down people with questionable character.
He said that the arms recovery programme was the second phase of JTF’s plan to make the state safer for people to go about their normal businesses.
NAN reports that the JTF had given people in possession of firearms October 31 deadline to surrender them to five designated collection centres in the state.
The centres were the JTF headquarters, State Police Command, the State Security Services (SSS) office, Maimalari and Giwa Military Barracks in Maiduguri.
“With the expiration of the deadline, JTF has commenced house-to-house search for rifles and arms under its phase II programme of ridding Maiduguri metropolis and some towns in Borno State affected by the Boko Haram insurgency of illegal arms.
“Under the phase II, we are retrieving rifles, arms,and ammunition and we will make sure that all the illegally possessed arms are fully retrieved.
“Right now, our target are rifles, arms and improvised explosive devices, which are allegedly being used by the sect in attacking and killing people.”
He disclosed that JTF had already conducted searches in Gomari, Mafoni, Kululuri and Bulabulin Ngarnnam areas of Maiduguri, adding that lots of rifles and ammunition were retrieved.
He described the cooperation of the people as fantastic.
Mohammed said that at the end of the exercise, people with genuine licences would have their arms returned to them but warned that anybody caught in possession of arms illegally after the JTF exercise, would face the wrath of the law.