The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Illicit Weapons (NCCSLW) on Wednesday disclosed that there is an estimated 10million small arms in circulation in the West Africa Sub-Region with 70 per cent of these weapons believed to be Nigeria according to the UN Small Ams Survey in 2019, hence the high rate of insecurity in the country.
This is just as the National Coodinator, Major Gen Abba Muhammad Dikko (rtd) disclosed that when issues of proliferation of small weapon’s became a matter of major concern for peace and stability of the sub region, a lot of people felt it was an Arab,-Spring, ISIS issue that will have little impact on our country.
Declaring open a Multi Stake-holders Training Workshop on Exemption Procedures to the ECOWAS Conventjon on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Abuja, Gen Dikko said, “The shocking reality is that very little attention was paid to the Magreb. Libya had a massve stockpile of arms and when Gadaffi left, the country’s armed forces broke into camps and arms were sold cheaply. Everybody was for himself.
“The key question is where was the most likely destination of these arms. Affordability of these arms made Nigerian the clear destination. Our vast borders did not help matters”.
” The key answers to address this issues is to remove all encumberances to working together. This is why I am so happy that all the security agencies and stakeholders are here including the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police DSS, DIA, NIA, Customs, Immigrations, NSCDC , EFCC, Nigerian Correctional Service and NDLEA among others.
“If we get this right, our security challenges and situation will improve for the better. NCCSLW is cashing in on the current control measures which is pointing to our achieving our mandate because we are all involved in jointly addressing this issue.
Continuing, he said, “The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Illicit Weapons has further opened the path for achieving our goals. There is a new thinking. We have to see how we take full ownership. All categories of illicit weapons are involved.
Brig Gen EC Ekwensi, Deputy Coodinator in an overwiew warned that the menace of small arms and livht weapons if not properly address will become the next weapons of mass destruction
He expressed concern that Nigeria holds the un-emviable record of 3rd position in 2020 World Terrorism Index and 146 in Global Peace Index 2021.
Dr. Adamu Mohammed Sani of the ECOWAS Commission delivered a lecture on the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.