Presidency Warms up for Whistle-blower Policy on Illicit Arms

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By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

In a bid to throw the spotlight on illicit gun ownership and control in the country, the presidency said at the weekend that it had started drawing up rules for a whistle-blower mechanism with a view to preventing and eradicating illegal ownership of small arms and light weapons.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the administration was making efforts to strengthen the whistle-blower policy in the Ministry of Finance because it has proved to be very effective in bringing the attention of the government to stolen assets and unexplained wealth.

He added that in line with presidential directives, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Munguno (rtd), has commenced work on a template for the discovery and recovery of illegal weapons through a reward system following the success of the whistle-blower policy under the Ministry of Finance.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) initiative may be an independent line of inquiry or in active collaboration with what the government is doing in the finance ministry.

“This will be a sort of searchlight on weapons ownership in the country. Whatever form or shape it takes, the administration wants to take a tough line to curtail the large number of illegal weapons in circulation used in intra and inter-communal conflicts. The aim is to disarm communities especially those with proclivity to violence,” he said.

The statement further said ONSA which already had a committee on the recovery of small arms and light weapons in the country had also opted to adopt the whistle-blower approach in the move to eradicate mass shooting incidents and remove the harassment of law abiding citizens by holders of illegal weapons.

It also said in the administration’s move to prevent and eradicate illegal ownership of small arms and light weapons, the presidency has started drawing up the rules of a whistle-blower mechanism to throw a spotlight on the regime of gun ownership and control in the country.

“In the last few days, we had discussed the efforts the administration is making to strengthen the whistle-blower mechanism in the Ministry of Finance which, to date, has proved to be very effective in bringing the attention of the government to stolen assets and unexplained wealth.

“In line with presidential directives, the NSA,  Munguno, has begun work on a template for the discovery and recovery of illegal weapons through a reward system following the success of the whistle-blower policy under the Ministry of Finance.

“The ONSA initiative may be an independent line of inquiry or in active collaboration with what the government is doing in finance. This will be a sort of searchlight on weapons ownership in the country. Whatever form or shape it takes, the administration wants to take a tough line to curtail the large number of illegal weapons in circulation used in intra and inter-communal conflicts. The aim is to disarm communities especially those with proclivity for violence.

“The ONSA which already has a committee on the recovery of small arms and light weapons in the country has decided to adopt the whistle-blower approach so as to eradicate mass shooting incidents and remove the harassment of law abiding citizens by holders of illegal weapons,” the statement added.