Lagos - Three hundred and twenty two murder cases were recorded in Lagos State in the past year, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Umar Manko, said on Thursday.
Manko spoke at the state's seventh town hall meeting on security in Lagos.
He said that 126 of the cases were recorded between November 2012 and April 2013, and the other 196 from May to October, 2013.
The commissioner also said that the state recorded 54 robbery cases, adding that 146 robbers died in shootouts with the police while 472 robbers were arrested.
“We unfortunately lost 39 of our officers during encounters with these criminals within the period,” Manko said.
He said that 390 arms were recovered and 16 034 ammunition seized.
Manko said that the year was a tough one for criminals as the notorious ones and kidnappers were either killed or nabbed.
He cited the arrest of an alleged notorious robber, one Abiodun Ebenezer, otherwise known as Godogodo, who had terrorised the state for 14 years, as a major breakthrough.
The commissioner commended the state government for supporting police operations through the provision of vehicles and other logistics.
He, however, said the command still needed bullet proof vests and more vehicles to perform optimally.
Manku also urged residents of the state to co-operate with the police in fighting crime by reporting suspected criminals in their communities.
He also urged the reform of the state's criminal justice system to ensure conclusive adjudication of criminal cases.
“Our criminal justice system should be reformed in such a manner that would guarantee faster and impartial dispensation of justice to all concerned.”
“I want to appeal to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) to exercise constraint in throwing away or discharging cases on the slightest technical reason,” Manko said.
According to him, case files are referred to the DPP not only to determine the culpability of suspects but to ensure that justice is done to parties.
“Where lacuna is noticed in police investigation, the nDPP should draw the attention of the police to the gap and also suggest means of filling the chasm to guarantee justice for all.”
“Also criminal cases should be disposed off with minimum delay and appropriate punishment must be awarded at all times to guarantee the sanctity of the rule of law,” he said.
The state governor, Babatunde Fashola, said that police officers deserved great recognition for putting their lives on the line to protect others.
He said that his government would continue to motivate police officers in the state and supply them with some of the things they needed to perform optimally.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fashola rewarded some police officers for gallantry and dedication to service.
He also presented all the award recipients, comprising junior and senior officers, N10 million for their efforts.