LAGOS, Nigeria – Security forces in Nigeria on Monday initiated an intensive recovery of firearms in the possession of unauthorized persons and security outfits across the country.

Ibrahim Idris, Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police,  said he directed his officers to commence the recovery of banned firearms across the country.

The mandate is part of efforts to restrict and contain sectarian violence in parts of the country which has claimed many lives and caused the destruction of properties.

The police on Monday set up a joint task force in southern Enugu State to mop up illegal firearms and ammunition in the state.

Mohammed Danmallam, the State Commissioner of Police told reporters that the task-force comprised personnel from State and Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department and mobile police units.

The commissioner urged all persons with firearms and ammunition to re-verify and re-validate them in the command within 14 days.

He said anyone caught with illegal firearms and ammunition would henceforth be prosecuted.

In southwest Ondo State, the police gave residents of the state a 21-day ultimatum to submit all illegal firearms to the nearest police station.

Don Awunah, the Commissioner of Police in oil-rich Bayelsa, said it has set up a task force to mop up illegal firearms across the state.

Awunah warned that the command would henceforth treat and prosecute persons arrested for unlawful possession of firearms and trafficking in illegal weapons as terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers, and cultists.

Also, in the twitchy northeast Adamawa state, police gave illegal firearms owners two weeks to surrender their arms or face arrest and prosecution.