One million illegal weapons in Nigeria – NSA document

No fewer than 10 million small arms and light weapons are in circulation in Africa, of which one million are in Nigeria, a national security strategy document from the Office of the National Security Adviser has shown.

Amidst concerns of rising banditry and kidnapping rate, there are fears in security circles that the weapons in circulation in the country may have increased astronomically this year.

Although the document was prepared in 2014, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.), said, “Most of the threats identified in the 2014 document are still present with us.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had, only on Tuesday, met with service chiefs and ordered them to halt the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.

The President had, in a review of the security situation in the country, given the order to the military despite the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons in 2014, which is statutorily saddled with such responsibility.

According to the NSA document, which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday, other challenges identified as facing Nigeria are the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, recurring communal, ethno-religious and pastoralists/farmers’ conflicts.

The document partly read, “The proliferation of small arms and light weapons is a global phenomenon arising from conflicts across the globe. Presently, more than 90 countries produce various types of small arms and light weapons. It is estimated that more than 857 million weapons are in circulation aside from 12 billion rounds of ammunition produced annually. Of these, 10 million small arms and light weapons are estimated to be in Africa, of which one million are in Nigeria.

“The weapons were compounded by major conflicts in West and North African countries, notably Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and much more recently, Mali and Libya.

“The proliferation of nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery constitute grave threat. The proliferation constitutes a challenge in itself since the weapons may reach their targets in non-conventional ways.

“In spite of this, a national security strategy that involves the development of technological, biological and chemical capabilities to neutralise these threats and reduce their impact on the civilian populace and the nation’s critical assets is desirable.”

Monguno, speaking at a meeting on Thursday with the military and security stakeholders in Abuja, called for a review of the 2014 security document, which he said, would be replaced by a draft 2019 national security strategy to accommodate the contemporary threats facing the country.

He noted, at the validation session meeting, that the 2019 national security strategy would provide direction for the military in defeating the threats to Nigeria’s national interests.a
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