The Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Lucky Irabor and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba Monday stressed the need to curb proliferation of small arms and ammunition in the Nigeria and West Africa.
They spoke in Abuja at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreement on a bill to tackle arms proliferation,.
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Irabor, represented by AVM T. O. Yusuf, said the military was of the view that proliferation of small arms and light weapons posed a systemic threat to the nation’s long term socio-economic development and security.
On his part, the IGP described proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a major factor in prolonged armed conflicts across ECOWAS member states.
The IGP, represented by the AIG in charge of Armament, Mohammed Lawan, urged law enforcement agencies of ECOWAS member states to support joint action both at international, regional and national level to stamp out the rising illicit traffic link to organized crimes and terrorist activities.
Director-General, National Commission to Combat Illegal Importation of Arms and Ammunitions, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipelines Vandalism, Bala Mohammed, represented by Director, NATFORCE, Katsina State Command, Mujtaba Abdullahi, said it was imperative for all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring a regulatory framework to stop the menace.
Chairman, Special Task Force, Importers Association of Nigeria, Chijioke Okoro said 70 to 90 percent of illegal importation of light weapons and small arms could be curtailed by the association if well harnessed, regulated and engaged to perform such roles.
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas, had said out of over 400 treaties and agreements Nigeria signed, only 10 or 11 had been domesticated.