Daji Sani in Yola
The National Taskforce for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Small Arms, Ammunitions, Light/Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NAT Force) saturday said curtailing small arms and light weapons was salient to addressing security challenges facing the country.
The Director General of NAT Force, Dr. Osita Okereke expressed concern about the proliferation of small arms and light weapon across the country at a session with Journalists in Yola, Adamawa state capital yesterday.
At the session, Okereke said the proliferations of the arms and weapons “have traumatised the country’s economy and security because they are used by hoodlums to carry out heinous crimes across the nation.”
He, therefore, lamented the high rate of killings, kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry and the rampaging herdsmen on the farm settlements, which according to him, were as a result of the proliferation of these weapons.
He explained that the proliferation of arms and weapon informed the establishment of NAT Force “to curtail these illegal importation and possession of small arms and weapons by individuals across the nation.”
He said he was in Adamawa State to properly inaugurate the commission which had undergone so many challenges where it battled 19 cases in court and came out victorious.
Okereke said although their bill “is still at the National Assembly and has not been passed into law, he is sure nobody will want to stop such an important bill. All ECOWAS countries have enacted laws prohibiting arms proliferation.”
He said the bill was initiated sequel “to an agreement reached by all ECOWAS nations in 2009 which Nigeria was part of it. The agreement was that all ECOWAS nations should checkmate the illegal movement and possession of small arms and light weapons by individuals across ECOWAS nations gear toward curtailing the insecurity challenges ravaging most of them.
The director-general explained that if perpetrators of these heinous crimes “are not in possession of illegal arms, they cannot be able to carry out these crimes. Insecurity should be a concern to every Nigerian.
Okereke asserted that the agreement reached “has made NAT Force sacrosanct because the police, army and civil defence cannot do it alone.”
He said NAT Force “has planned to recruit 350 persons per each Local Government Area from every aspect of lives across the country. This is a way of introducing internal security in all Nigerian villages and communities.
“We going to recruit and train 350 interested persons per each local government areas across the nation because there are communities that have no army, police and civil defence, when there is a distress call it will be difficult for them to reach there either because of terrain or logistic challenges.
“Let everybody watch his community. That is why we are not doing the recruitment only base on academy qualification. This is because we want to get accurate information about every community so as tackle the insecurity challenges bedeviling our nation,” the director-general said.