The Defence Headquarters on Monday said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons poses a systemic threat to the country.
The Chief of Defence Staff (COAS), Major General Lucky Irabor, stated this during a public hearing on “A Bill For An Act To Enable Effect Be Given, In The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, To The ECOWAS Convention On Small Arms And Light Weapons, Their Ammunition And Other Related Materials Made In Abuja On The 14th Day Of June 2006 And For Related Matters.”
According to the reports, the event was organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements.
This was as the Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, Ossai Nicholas, said out of over 400 treaties and agreements Nigeria have signed and only 10 or 11 have been domesticated.
Irabor, who was represented by AVM T. O. Yusuf, said the bill was a welcome development in view of the threat such proliferation entails.
“On the proposed bill, it was well received and it is pertinent to state that DHQ is of the view that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria poses a systemic threat to the nation’s long term socio-economic development as well as security,” he said.
He however observed that the functions of the national centre for the control of small arms and light weapons which the bill proposes is similar to the proposed national commission against the proliferation of arms and light weapons from another legislation. This he said would amount to replication of duties.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, said the police is aware of the disastrous consequences of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons on the prolongation of armed conflict and the exploitation of natural resources of member states.
Represented the Assistant Inspector General in charge of Armament, AIG Mohammed Lawan, he said the police are committed to need to build peace and prevent conflict among member states.
He said police over the years has made tremendous efforts especially in the areas of arrest, recoveries of small arms, light weapons and ammunition and prosecution of suspects in order to combat and eradicate the illicit manufacture and excessive accumulation of small arms and light weapons which have negative effects on the security of the ECOWAS sub-region.
He encouraged the enactment of relevant laws and regulations to curtail illicit manufacturing, trafficking and diversion of arms, ammunition and other conventional arms which are major threats to human well-being and development.
“The Nigerian Police Force, therefore, encourages law enforcement agencies of ECOWAS member states to support joint action both at the international, regional and national level to stamp out the rising illicit traffic link to organized crimes and terrorist activities,” he said.
Assistant Controller General of Immigration in charge of General Services, Kunle Osinsoya, said the Service commenced marking all its arms.
He said so far all the arms in their headquarters and in the Federal Capital Territory have been marked and the ones in the various commands across the country would be done in the next few weeks.
Chairman of the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, Ossai Nicholas, said out of over 400 treaties and agreements Nigeria has signed and only 10 or 11 have been domesticated.
“It means we are not moving forward. Under my headship as chairman of this committee, we have already forwarded about 25 domestications, the first of its kind, since 1999 and we intend to reach up to 50 to 100 to domesticate in the next two years. We feel that the Nigerian people must be able to derive some benefits from what our fathers and the current people who have gone to represent Nigeria to sign these agreements,” he said.
He said the bill passed the second reading at the plenary on Wednesday, 14th July 2021 and was referred to the committee for further legislative action.
“It is for this purpose that we now hold this interactive session with you as good representatives of your respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, including the Civil Society Organizations as development partners, the press and the general public,” he said.