President Muhammadu Buhari has traced the infiltration of small arms to Nigeria, which end up in the hands of militia forces, bandits and insurgents groups to countries bordering Sahel and sub Saharan nations.
He said the development was becoming a threat to human rights and internal security in Nigeria and could be mitigated if there are wider cooperation among the regional governments.
President Buhari made the observations on Saturday shortly after arriving N’Djamena, the Chadian capital.
The forum is a one-day Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD.
He is participating in the conference alongside his host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD, Idriss Deby and their counterparts from Niger and Togo, with high-level representations from other member-countries.
Under President Buhari there has been close partnership with regional neighbours in the last few years to stem the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons making their way into Nigeria, but the “very disturbing recent developments” have impelled the administration to seek support from a wider circle of countries if the illegal inflows are to be curtailed.
The President seized the forum to make case for irregular migration, trafficking in persons, especially of women and children as part of the security nature of his engagements.
“It is in view of the significance of this organization and the role it can play in furthering domestic security that President Buhari ordered the reinvigoration of our nation’s interest, approved the payment of the backlog of unpaid funds and for a speedier work on the processes of the ratification of the treaty binding the members of the organization,” Buhari’s aide, Garba Shehu said in a statement.
While in N’Djamena, President Buhari is also expected to press for the protection of the well-being of the large population of Nigerians living both legally and illegally in Libya, which is the host country of the CEN-SAD Secretariat.