A REPORT of the Auditor-General of the Federation for 2019 has revealed the unbelievable disappearance of 178,459 pieces of armaments from the armories of the Nigeria Police Force without any formal report of their whereabouts.
Out of this figure, 88,078 AK-47 rifles and 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols could not be accounted for as at January 2020, neither were they reported to any higher authority.
Details of these were contained in pages 383 to 391 of the report entitled: “Auditor General for the Federation Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended December 31, 2019” submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly and dated September 15, 2021. It was signed by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu.
The report also said that the Police did not have comprehensive details of unserviceable weapons. According to the Auditor-General, the losses and the inability/unwillingness of the Police authorities to report or account for them contravenes paragraph 2603 of the Financial Regulations which direct that “in the event of any loss of stores, the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occurs shall report immediately to the head of department or unit but not later than three days, by the fastest means possible if the loss occurs away from the headquarters”.
Pending the outcome of the probe that the National Assembly has reportedly instituted, there is no other preliminary conclusion one can draw other than that these losses were deliberately concealed by the Police authorities, perhaps over the years.
With these revelations, it should not be surprising that the Police is so weakened that it has become systematically outgunned by criminals and terrorists almost in every situation, including the war against Boko Haram, bandits, criminal herdsmen, armed robbers and the so-called “Unknown Gunmen” who have been destroying Police stations in several parts of the country.
We call for a similar investigation of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Customs and other arms-bearing security agencies. With the frequent reports of collusion with, and condonement of terrorist acts, banditry and atrocities by armed herdsmen, as well as reports of night time helicopter drops to the camps of the marauding herdsmen, it will not be surprising how the bulk of the missing weapons found their ways to these terrorists.
Officers found culpable for this crime, even the retired ones, must be exposed. They must tell Nigerians what happened to these weapons. They must be treated in a manner as to ensure this is not repeated in the future.