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Reps probe arms purchase for security agencies in last 10 years

The committee headed by Rep. Olaide Akinremi is mandated "to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military

The House of Representatives has set up an Adhoc committee on Thursday to look into all arms purchase for security agencies in Nigeria since 2011.

The committee, headed by Rep. Olaide Akinremi, is mandated “to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies”.

In his opening remarks during the inauguration held at the National Assembly complex on Thursday, Chairman of the Committee claimed that in 2019 alone, Nigeria spent an estimated sum of $47.387 million in arms importation.

“The Committee shall proceed to investigate the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition purchased in the last ten years by a clear inquest into the relevant tools and equipment, as well as ammunition as to whether evidence exists or not,” he said.

He said the inaugural meeting is primarily set to create an awareness of the originating definition of the substantive fundamental principal of the hearing.

“Therefore the Committee has commenced its legislative process of evidence gathering towards accomplishing this legislative assignment.

“It is through evidence gathered that the Committee would be able to deliver on this all-important national assignment that will guarantee security, economic growth and national development,” he added.

Rep. Akinremi noted that there must be efficiency and transparency in procurement by nations which he said arms and ammunition form a substantial proportion, amounting to 12 per cent of global GDP in 2018.

According to him, the percentage for Africa stood at 13.5℅ and Nigeria’s was 14.25%.

“Arguably, the International Trade Centre ranks Nigeria 4th in Africa, and 52 in the world in arms importation,” he said.

It could be recalled that the House had passed a resolution December 8th 2020 after a motion calling for an investigation into arms purchase.

He said: “The motion is pursuant to the National Assembly power of oversight in line with the provisions of section 4, 58, 59 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended”.

The lawmaker said the Committee has commenced its legislative process of gathering evidence and urged all stakeholders to cooperate with the committee.

“As a way forward, the Committee shall require your utmost, timely and kind cooperation for the purpose of completeness,” he said.

The Committee’s chairman reiterated that it shall be mandatory for chief executives and heads of concerned institutions to attend to all inquiries, written or oral, and physically present at all sessions of the Committee hearings.

“That will assist our work, and form the basis for our subsequent interactions with you,” he said.