April 23, 2024

Investigate proliferation of arms in Niger Delta, CSOs urge Tinubu


President Bola Tinubu

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria have called on President Bola Tinubu to investigate the proliferation of arms in the Niger Delta region.

The CSOs, under the umbrella of the Civil Society Organization Network of Nigeria (CSONN), made the call during a mass demonstration at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja on Monday.

According to CSONN, the proliferation of arms in the region has led to an increase in violent crimes, including kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism.

The group expressed concern that the situation could further deteriorate if not addressed promptly.

“We urge President Tinubu to investigate the sources of these arms and take decisive action to stem the tide of arms proliferation in the Niger Delta,” said Collins Eshiofeh, Chairman of CSONN.

The group also called on the government to review the award of pipeline surveillance contracts to former militants, citing concerns that these contracts could be used to further arm and empower these individuals.

“The government must ensure that those entrusted with national assets do not have a history of militant activity or arms proliferation,” Eshiofeh added.

The CSOs highlighted the recent efforts by the Nigerian Navy and President Tinubu in curbing oil theft.

However, they pointed out the urgent need for a review of the current pipeline surveillance contracts, which they believe could exacerbate the environmental and security crises in local communities.

Eshiofeh stated, “The awarding of surveillance contracts to entities with questionable backgrounds is alarming.

“It not only compromises our national security but also risks the possibility of these groups arming themselves further.”

The recent attack in Okauma village, which resulted in the loss of 17 soldiers, was cited as a grave example of the potential consequences of entrusting national security to those with a history of violence.

CSONN urged Federal Government to take immediate action by directing the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to stop the award of surveillance contracts to companies led by individuals with questionable integrity.

The group also reiterated its commitment to act as a societal watchdog, vowing to continue its advocacy until these critical issues are addressed.