April 18, 2024

Number of weapons in unauthorized hands very alarming, says Army

Police recover toy pistols from NGO training shooters at Maiduguri hotel

The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Hassan Dada, has expressed concern about the high number of weapons in unauthorized hands in Nigeria.

He said this on Thursday in Enugu at a one day seminar on the control of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

The seminar was organised by the South East Zonal office of National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALWS).

“The number of weapons outside is very alarming.

“We need to take out these weapons in our midst; we need solutions; we need to think out of the box; so we can take away these weapons,” Dada said.

The GOC, represented by the Garrison Commander 82 Division, Brig.-Gen. MM Abu, said taking away the weapons from the non-state actors would solve current security challenges in the country.

He described the theme of the seminar, ‘Multi Sectoral Synergy Towards the Control of Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria’ as timely and imperative.

Dada called for more synergy and inter agency communication by different security agencies to retrieve all weapons from criminal elements.

Similarly, Kanayo Uzuegbu, the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, said the proliferation of weapons was fueling criminality across the country.

He added that most of the arms were smuggled from neighboring countries, and called for engagement with Nigerian manufacturers, political actors and other stakeholders to find solution to the menace.

Uzuegbu was represented by ACP Onyeamu Akaeme, who is in charge of Operations in the command,
“We should engage our manufacturers to tap from their expertise in a positive way for the good of our country.

“Engage our political leaders and their followers through sensitisation programmes,” he added.

The NCCSALWS zonal officer, Maj.-Gen. Okechukwu Ugoh (rtd), said the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons was directly responsible for much of the untold human sufferings in the country.

“It is important to mention that these weapons on their own do not cause conflict, rather, it is the easy access to them and the recklessness of their use that make violence more lethal and conflicts more protracted.”

According to him, small arms and light weapons have become weapons of choice for criminals, terrorists and bandits in Nigeria and beyond.

He said that this was what is “posing a significant challenge to our dear country especially in the wake of many crises that have engulfed our geo-political zone and the nation at large.”