Against the backdrop of proliferation of assault arms in the country and the security threats perpetrated, the National Center for the Control of Small and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) has said plans are afoot to institutionalise the marking of weapon-holdings for easy identities by security agencies.
National Coordinator, Arms Control Center, in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Dikko (rtd) made this known during a visit to the Defence headquarters even as he said plans are also on, to embark on mopping up of small and light weapons across the country.
On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor disclosed that the proliferation of arms was the main factor fuelling insurgency and banditry in the country
Dikko said, “The NCCSALW intends to aggregate all weapons and related material that have been mopped up from the society and manage the stockpile leading up to its destruction.
“The centre also plans to institutionalise the process of marking all weapons holdings of security agencies and maintain a national database that would help to keep track of all small arms and light weapons in the country to ensure traceability in case the weapons fall into wrong hands”.
He said the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the defence headquarters of the core functions of NCCSALW.
“The visit was also to highlight the various areas of collaboration with the defence headquarters and to solicit maximum support of the Armed Forces in the actualisation of the core objectives of the centre” he added.
Dikko pointed out that the NCCSALW was established on May 3, 2021, following an executive order by President Muhammadu Buhari and he was appointed the National Coordinator of the Centre on May 6, 2021.
Reiterating that the centre was intended to serve as the institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, the coordinator said the centre would be promoting policy actions through networking and advocacy in collaboration with government agencies, civil society organisations, security sector institutions, development partners and international organisations.
It world be recalled that a recent report prepared by a research and consultancy group, Beacon Consulting Ltd., a member of ASIS International, world’s largest association for security management professionals, showed that of the 6.5 million small arms and light weapons ate circulating in Nigeria.
The report said 5 million weapons are in the possession of non-state actors while only 568,000 are in the hands of law enforcement agencies.
Responding, the CDS said, research and experience revealed that the state of insecurity in the nation was attributable to the illicit proliferation of arms in the society.
According to a statement by the Director, Strategic Communication and Information of the weapons center, Group Captain E. Akintuntinde, the CDS “stated that the establishment of the centre was long overdue given the current state of insecurity in the nation.”
Irabor contended that the significant reduction of illicit arms flows was a collective responsibility of all stakeholders, saying, “all hands must be on deck in this fight against insecurity in the nation and pledged to give his maximum support in the actualisation of the centre’s objectives, which aims at the eradication of illicit arms in the country”.