• Thursday, July 18, 2024
businessday logo


Developed nations aiding arms proliferation in Nigeria – Navy

Small arms proliferation worsening Nigeria’s insecurity – Report

The Nigerian Navy has said developed countries are contributing to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria through the regular donation of weapons to neighboring countries that lack armouries to keep the armaments.

Similarly, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) has raised the alarm that local blacksmiths are now producing sophisticated weapons. The DIA has, therefore, called for their incorporation into the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to make them useful to the country.

The security agencies stated this at an interactive session by the House of Representatives committee on national security and intelligence on four security-related bills.

Awwal Gambo, Nigeria’s chief of the naval staff, who was represented by Jemila Sadiq, a commodore called for the building of walls along Nigeria’s borders to curtail the inflow of small arms and light weapons.

“I was in charge as a member of the fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically that some of these countries that have borders with us have no armouries.

They don’t have armouries. Most of the arms being donated by the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that an average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20.

Read also: A multi-pronged approach would root out illegal arms sales in Nigeria

“I am here, I am standing here and I am saying it. Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries that are donating such arms to these countries, I think we should insist that they should either enact laws to govern the handling of these arms and ammunition or build armouries for these countries, or else we would not see peace”.

Speaking on behalf of the DIA, F. G. Okoyi, air commodore said blacksmith skills as well as the traditional weapons manufactured for hunting, ceremonial and ornamental purposes have remained the symbol of power and prestige in some traditional communities in Nigeria.

Okoyi, however, said recently blacksmiths have advanced their skills and now possess the capability to manufacture assorted and sophisticated rifles such as AK 47, revolvers, pistols, improvise explosive devices among others.

He also called for the monitoring of the activities of scrap metal scavengers and to control the manufacture and distribution of fertilizers as a means of checking illegal production of explosives.

“Meanwhile the bill should be mindful that Section 28 of the Fire Arms Act of 1957 which prohibits the unlawful manufacture of firearms has not been repealed, hence the need to consider possible benefits to be derived from collaborations between Nigeria and local arms manufacturers by further reviewing extant laws that would support private sector participation in local arms manufacturing is very necessary.

“The Nigeria Police overtime licensed the use of double barrels and pump actions to the civil populace. The measure would therefore need to be emplaced by the bill to ensure the upcoming laws are not conflicting with extant permitting citizens to possess arms for self-defence,” he said.

Okoyi said the integration of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) infrastructure into national security network would further boost the ongoing fight criminal activities and urged that all estate development companies in the country be directed to include CCTV installations as a basic infrastructural facility provided in their estates while public places should also install the devices.

While declaring the session open, speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila said the bills are a priority for the parliament, hence they would be given accelerated consideration after engaging stakeholders to make sure the proposed legislations are impactful.

The bills under consideration are: a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (HB 10) and a Bill for an Act to make Provision for the Integration of Private close Circuit Television (CCTV) and for Related Matters, 2019 (HB. 421).

Others are: a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Explosives Act, And for Related Matters (HB 369 & HB 822) and a Bill for an Act to designate the month of November as the National Appreciation for Security Agencies Month and for Related Matters (HB 1222).