The Coordinator, National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Illicit Weapons (NCCSALW), Major Gen Mohammad Dikko (rtd) disclosed on Tuesday that the Centre is putting mechanism in place to ensure that all illicit and illegal weapons seized from various criminal elements including insurgents, bandits, kidnapping and armed robbery gangs in the country are being compiled for possible destruction.
The Coordinator made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Faruk Yahaya at Army headquarters even as he noted that the Centre is working with relevant stakeholders to institutionalize small arms and light weapons control at all levels with a view to having a centralized data base.
“Consequently, All issues relating to stockpile management of all arms and ammunition have to be centralized through a central data base. In this regard we are educating all arms bearing sucurity agencies on the measures towards achieving this objective”, he said.
Gen Dikko also said the Centre is promoting and enhancing interrnal institutional framework for capacity with a view to reducing reliance on external bodies in discharging its responsibilities.
He told the COAS that, “Of all the stakeholders, we have identified in the process of tackling control of small and illicit arms, the Nigrrian Army is at the Vanguard because this matter is a collective responsibility.
“But there is need to identify the catslysts of this problem. In recent times, society is awash with illicit and small arms. These arms are the causes of insecurity fting the economy, growth, peace and stability. And if not checked, the nation will be affected negatively.
“The Centre’s focus has changed from superficial work which it had been doing, to ensure that illicit and small arms are taken away from the society. There is a new dimension at ECOWAS level for instance that seeks to bring all aspect of illicit srms control organs into one unbrella”.
In this regard, the coordinator said the Centre was ready to partner the Nigerian Army to take control of surrendered weapons from repentant insurgents, and those captured from bandits and other criminal elements in order to reduce the work load on the Army.
“Once we have these small arms and illicit weapons out of the society, our security challenges will be reduced”, he added.
In his response, the COAS, Lt. Gen Yahaya said this issue of small arms has ochestrsted all security challenges facing our country.
He ssid,” The spread of these weapons is one of the causes of violent crimes. Whether kidnapping, armed robbery, they are all from small arms and illicit weapons. It is from there that they graduate and they go into higher arms for insurgency and banditry.
“Once you have small arms and illicit weapons in the hands of people especially with our people like those facing unemployment, agitation among others, those in flows become worrisome to us”.
Disclosing that iit’s a well known fact that arms from Libya, Mali, Niger and Cameroon do find their way into Nigeria because of the wide expance of our borders, the COAS said for all arms smuggled from these areas, the end state is Nigeria.
Gen Yahaya added, “What we can do is to strenghten our defence around the border. I also believe the Centre in liaison with the office of the National Security Adviser can go a step further through the diplomatic level to address these cankerworm of small arms and illicit weapons.