The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons says that it plans to institutionalise the marking of weapon-holdings for easy identification by security agencies.
This, it says, is its response to the proliferation of arms in the country and the resulting threat to security.
The National Coordinator, Arms Control Centre in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Major General Mohammed Dikko (retd.), disclosed this during a visit to the Defence headquarters on Wednesday.
This is even as he said that the NCCSALW is working to mop up small and light weapons across the country.
Dikko said, “The NCCSALW intends to aggregate all weapons and related material that have been mopped up from the society and manage the stockpile leading up to its destruction.
“The centre also plans to institutionalise the process of marking all weapons holdings of security agencies and maintain a national database that would help to keep track of all small arms and light weapons in the country to ensure traceability in case the weapons fall into wrong hands”.
He added that the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the defence headquarters on the core functions of the Centre.
He said, “The visit was also to highlight the various areas of collaboration with the defence headquarters and to solicit maximum support of the Armed Forces in the actualisation of the core objectives of the Centre”.
Dikko noted that the NCCSALW was established on May 3, 2021, following an executive order by President Muhammadu Buhari and he was appointed the National Coordinator of the Centre on May 6, 2021.
According to the Coordinator, the Centre was intended to serve as the institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
He said the centre would be promoting policy actions through networking and advocacy in collaboration with government agencies, civil society organisations, security sector institutions, development partners and international organisations.
Recall that a recent report by research and consultancy group, Beacon Consulting Ltd., a member of ASIS International, revealed that at least 6.5 million small arms and light weapons were circulating in Nigeria.
According to the report, 5 million of these weapons are in the possession of non-state actors while law enforcement agencies possess only 568,000.
In his remarks, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said that the proliferation of arms remains a major factor fuelling insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.
Irabor maintained that reducing the circulation of illicit arms is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, saying, “all hands must be on deck in this fight against insecurity in the nation.”
The defence Chief also vowed to support the NCCSALW to curtail the circulation of illicit arms in the country. PUNCH