By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives has called on the federal government to review the policies, protocols, and procedures for the purchase of arms, ammunition and related hardware by the by the security agencies in the last ten years.
It also urged the federal government to appraise the armoury and weapons control mechanisms currently being implemented by the Nigeria Army, Navy and Air Force, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDCD), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) in the last ten years.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Olaide Akinremi, at the plenary yesterday.
Moving the motion the lawmaker observed that there had been an increase in the deployment of officers of the police, civil defence, immigration, customs and NCS to perform internal security functions, often at variance with their core competence, training and mandate.
Akinremi noted that with the increase in number of armed deployments in response to the multifaceted internal security challenges across the country, there had also been a significant increase in the demand for arms, ammunition and related hardware by the various paramilitary forces in the country.
The lawmaker expressed concern that with the rise in deployment of armed paramilitary officers to across the country, there had been a commensurate upsurge in incidents of interactions between armed personnel and citizens, resulting in injury, deaths and several allegations of diverse misconduct and abuse;
Akinremi decried that there are no standard guidelines across the various paramilitary agencies for the training of officers in proper gun use, management and safety, with the effect that too many of the armed officers interacting with citizens do not have the right training, thus endangering the people they are meant to protect.
He said the absence of structured training standards has created an environment where clashes between security personnel and the civilian populace would continue to occur, with the attendant consequences, and a complete loss of confidence by citizens in the ability of the government to protect the welfare and wellbeing of its citizens.
Akinremi said there are no proper protocols in place to ensure that the arms, ammunition and related hardware that are being purchased are properly documented, as the procedures for armoury management and control across the security agencies are still based on outdated practices.
He lamented that the absence of effective armoury control feeds into a culture of recklessness regarding the use of weapons and raises the disturbing possibility that arms and ammunition purchased by the State would end up in the hands of criminals who would use them to commit acts of violence against citizens.
The House, therefore urged, “the federal government to review the policies, protocols, and procedures for the purchase of arms, ammunitions and related hardware by the Nigeria Army, Navy and Air Force, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) in the last ten years;
“Also urge the federal government to review the guidelines and systems for training officers of the Nigeria Army, the Nigerian Navy, the NAF, the Police, the NSCDC, NIS, Customs and the Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) in the last ten years;
The House also resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the quality and quantity of arms purchased by the Army, Navy and Air force, Police, Civil Defence, Immigration, Customs and NCS in the last ten years.