By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to summon the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali and the Director of State Security Services, Maman Daura to brief it on the comprehensive plan to rid Nigeria of the menace of small arms and light weapons.
It also called on the Nigeria Customs Service and other Regulatory Agencies to intensify checks at the Nation’s ports to control the influx of weapons into the country.
The House took the resolution following the recent interception and seizure of a large cache of arms by the Nigerian Customs at Lagos port.
Sequel to a motion titled “Frightening Influx of Small Arms and Light Weapons” sponsored by Hon. Obinna Chidoka (Anambra, PDP) at Wednesday plenary session, the House also urged the Nigerian Customs Service, the Directorate of State Security and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federal to speed up investigations on the firearms seizures and commence prosecution of the culprits to serve as deterrents to others.
Presenting the motion earlier, Chioka said: “The House is concerned Customs Service had on four different occasions, this year, intercepted firearms smuggled into the country, totaling 2,671 pieces, with the first firearms seizure in January, the second in May and the third and fourth in September 2017.
“Gravely concerned that the January 2017 firearm shipment was intercepted by the Nigerian Customs after it was purportedly checked and certified free to go with its deadly cargo and had indeed left the premises of the Port when it was tracked down after a tip-off.
“Worried that the recent firm arms seizure, which is the second in the month of September and fourth in 2017, would appear to suggest that the syndicate behind the influx of fire arms into the country had stepped up their nefarious trade, with far reaching consequences for the country, as fire arms and light weapons are the lifeblood of organised crimes and criminality.
“Worried that the Customs Service might not be adequately equipped and motivated to handle the influx of small arms and light weapons into the country, due to absence of functional scanners at the port to enable the agency to effectively scrutinise containers in line with global best practices.
“The recent influx of firearms into the country has confirmed the recent report of the United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, which identified Nigeria as a destination of choice for smugglers of small arms and light weapons”.
Also contributing to the debate, Hons. Nkiruka Onyejeocha (Abia, PDP), Nnenna Ukeje and Henry Ofongo (Bayelsa PDP) agreed to the prayers of the motion, saying it was a formidable way of curbing the menace of arms importation and proliferation in the country.