Illegal Arms Proliferation Worrisome

Illegal Arms Proliferation Worrisome
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It has become a recurring decimal, the constant interception of arms either in transit or stored away in supposedly ‘safe’ haven.  To add to these constant discoveries, the Nigeria Customs Service ,NCS, Tin Can Island Command on Saturday December 18 confirmed the interception of a container believed to be laden with arms and ammunition.

In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme, the incident is still being investigated in order to get to the root of the matter.

According to Mr Ejesieme, the container was intercepted in one of the port’s terminals during a routine examination.

“Following this development, the command intimated the terminal operators and requested that the suspected container be transferred to our enforcement unit for 100% examination.

He, therefore, called for calm as the command tries to get critical information on which a report on the incident would be based.

 In the same vein,  the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 3, North Central Zone of the Nigeria Customs Service say they have intercepted 550 Pump Action gun cartridges in Adikpo Junction, Benue State.

The coordinator of the team, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara State, revealed that the ammunitions were coming from Onitsha in Anambra State and were on the way to Taraba State before they were intercepted in Benue.

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“Based on an intelligence report, the sector intercepted a commercial J5 Bus around Adikpo Junction in Benue State heading to Taraba State. On searching the vehicle, two black Bacco sacks were found to contain pump-action cartridges suspected to be smuggled into the country.

“This epic seizure is very commendable at the backdrop of the heightened insecurity in the country. Should 550 rounds of live ammunition escape into the country and fall into wrong hands, the consequences will be devastating”, he added.

Worried by the constant discovery of arms in nation’s ports, the Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, had made frantic efforts to convince the Federal Government to include the association in the board of the proposed National Commission for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, saying such a move would curtail illegal importation of arms.

The association made the move at the public hearing on a bill to give effect to the ECOWAS convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons control.

The hearing, organised by the House Committee on Protocol, Agreement and Treaties, is on domesticating the ECOWAS convention.

The Director General, National Task Force of IMAN ChijiokeOkoro, said the association is in the best position to assist the government to eradicate importation of arms.

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He noted that the organisation has the capacity to work with the government in gathering intelligence on importers involved in the illicit act.

“We synergize with security agencies in providing information on such importation or where consignment has left the ports and border posts even on transit, we share information with security agencies which leads to arrest, seizure and prosecution of offenders”, he said.

 There have been concerns that the Nigerian Navy has consistently blamed neighbouring countries for the proliferation of arms and called for strong measures against them.

The accesses to arms by unlicensed individuals and miscreants who go by various appellations use the same ill-acquired weapons to terrorise hapless Nigerians who constantly are on the precipice.

We are concerned that for any discovery of a cache of arms, there are several others yet to be uncovered, thus posing a great threat to the security situation across the country.

It is disturbing that several outlets through which these arms find their ways into the country are intractable, given the porous nature of our borders.

Again, we frown at the compromised posturing of many security operatives at various points of entry into the country who are believed to look the other way when arms are entering illegally, after striking deals with such obnoxious importers.

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We align with the thoughts of some analysts who hold that the number of small arms in the hands of groups and individuals across the country is innumerable as this scenario is directly fueling the unparalleled issues related to insecurity across the country.

With the cost of some of these arms put at exorbitant beyond the reach of just any man on the street, it is presumed that the real culprits involved in arms proliferation who have lost their moral compass must be trailed by the authorities through exceptional diligence to stem the tide of the ugly situation. We are convinced that if sources of arms are tracked and culprits named and punished, the raging insecurity across the land would be mitigated. 

AljazirahNigeria also urge that each time arms are discovered, the authorities must not compromise their findings on the actual identities of the importers. That way, we would have made some inroad in unveiling these culprits who feast on the blood of Nigerians.


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