Over Six Million Illegal Weapons in Nigeria

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Nigeria is currently struggling with unmanned borders, leading to a spike in kidnappings, terrorism, banditry among others. It is no news that the perpetrators of this evil act are relying on increased availability of illegal arms in the country.

Experts have noted that the proliferation of arms, occasioned by illegal and porous borders, coupled with booming business of gun-running, is fuelling Nigeria’s security challenges, giving rise to criminal activities across the country.

A former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, expressing concern, had said there are over six million weapons in the country, that it was the reason insecurity in the country had heightened.

He noted that insecurity in the country had led to about 80,000 deaths and close to three million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

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A security expert, Simeon Udie, says ‘’The government is expected to do all it can to mop up these arms to prevent unreasonable use of such weapons,” adding that it is a shame all the people handling insecurity issues are politicians who lacked the political will, capacity or intention to protect the people.

Using Imo State as example, he notes the people who committed the dastardly acts are yet to be arrested, advising that chief security officer of the states should continue to support Police at national level.

In a chat with me, the head, Public Affairs, NCFront, Dr Tanko Yunusa, also blaming politicians for arming thugs, says the nation is becoming more dangerous to reside in as preparations are being made for 2023 general elections.

“Already we see people killing and maiming innocent Nigerians. This also shows the election may be nosediving to a violent preparation which is not acceptable, ‘’ he said, warning governors and politicians to stop arming individuals.

The executive director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), Barr Frank Tietie, revealed that in 2016, the United Nations Regional Centre on Peace and Disarmament in Africa, had raised alarm that there were 500 million small arms and light weapons across the West African subregion, with a large percentage of these arms in Nigeria. However, Nigeria did not take the warning seriously or act on it.

However he says that President Muhammadu Buhari’s posture regarding the current state of insecurity, is good when he said that anybody holding guns should be shot at sight.

The executive director, Make a Difference Initiative, Lemmy Ughegbe, agrees that proliferation of small arms and ammunition in the country, is also reason why Nigeria is battling kidnapping and insurgency today. ‘’There must be genuine efforts to mop up these arms if we want to curb insecurity challenges in the country,” he said.

He further mentions that the threat faces is internal and external aggression, adding things could get worse in 2023 if the federal government does not presently deal decisively with the situation.

First appeared on Leadership News paper

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