OrderPaperToday – The Nigerian Navy has explained how Nigeria’s neighbours aid the proliferation of small arms and light weapons thereby contributing to the prevailing insecurity in the country.
The Navy also blamed developed countries for consistently donating weapons to neighbouring countries who do not own armories to properly store such.
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, made the allegation at a public hearing hosted by the House of Representatives Committee on National security and Intelligence on four security bills on Monday.
Gambo, who was represented by Commodore Jemila Abubakar Sadiq, suggested that walls be built along the country’s borders to deal with the inflow of such weapons.
Meanwhile, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) raised alarm that local blacksmiths were now producing sophisticated weapons and therefore urged that they be be incorporated into the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to exploit their talents.
The House Committee had invited stakeholders to the hearing so as to get inputs from stakeholders on the bills which are: A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (HB 10); A Bill for an Act to make Provision for the Integration of Private close Circuit Television (CCTV) and for Related Matters, 2019 (HB. 421); A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Explosives Act, And for Related Matters (HB 369 & HB 822); and A Bill for an Act to designate the month of November as the National Appreciation for Security Agencies Month and for Related Matters (HB 1222).
According to the Chief of Naval Staff, “I was in charge as member of fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically and I stand to be corrected that some of these countries that have borders with have no no armory. They do not have armories so most of their arms that are being donated by the developed countries in the name of assisting us to fight our problems are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20.
“I am here, I am standing here and I am saying it. Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries that are donating such arms to these countries, I think we should insist that they should either enact laws to govern the handling of these arms and ammunition or build armories for these countries or else we would not see peace.
“The CCTV we are advocating for in my opinion even though they say even the Berlin wall has been knocked down, I think we should build walls between us and these neighboring countries or we should have a serious surveillance or else we would not see peace in this country, I am telling you this. I have been in that area for years, so I know what is happening.”
On the other side, the representative of the DIA, Air Commodore F. G. Okoyi submitted that blacksmiths skills as well as the traditional weapons manufactured for hunting, ceremonial and ornamental purposes has remained the the symbol of power and prestige in some traditional communities in Nigeria.
He said blacksmiths have advanced their skills and now possess the capability to manufacture assorted and sophisticated rifles such as AK 47, revolvers, pistols, improvise explosive devices among others.
Earlier, chairman of the House Committee, Ibrahim Shaa’aban Sharada (APC, Kano) assured that all stakeholders would be given ample opportunity to make inputs on the bills.
He said the committee was committed to ensuring that the proliferation of small arms and ammunition becomes a thing of the past in order to secure our nation.