Non-state Actors in Possession of 5m Weapons, Says Report

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By Kingsley Nwezeh

A report prepared by a research and consultancy group, Beacon Consulting Ltd., a member of ASIS International, world’s largest association for security management professionals, has shown that of the 6.5 million small arms and light weapons circulating in Nigeria, 5 million are in the possession of non-state actors while 568,000 are in the hands of law enforcement agencies.

Speaking yesterday on “The Morning Show”, a programme of ARISE NEWS Channel, a THISDAY broadcast arm, the Assistant Regional Vice President, Region 11 ASIS International and Managing Director Beacon Consulting Ltd, Dr. Kabiru Umar, said his consultancy group conducted a research, which showed that non-state actors were in possession of six million light arms and small weapons while law enforcement agencies were left with 586,000.

“Just in March, we did a survey on the circulation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria now and I don’t mean to be a harbinger of bad news or to raise the alarm. But I think it’s important that we know how bad these things are. We came to the conclusion based on verifiable information that there are 6.5 million small arms and light weapons in circulation.

“So, we now did the next step, which is to break down in terms of who has what and we came up with a figure 586,000 in the hands of our law enforcement agents”, he said.

“Now, that means there are over 5 million in the hands of these non-state actors. Now, we also tried to establish how many of those five million weapons are licensed by the police under the existing laws and unfortunately, there are no verifiable records or evidence to suggest that this is the number.”

“So, we came up with, let’s say, a million. And that means for instance, there are about four million of these weapons in the hands of those that shouldn’t have them”, he said.

He said the situation was the rationale behind the audacity of insurgents, armed bandits and other criminal elements to confront security agents.

“So we can now understand why these bandits, these criminals have the effrontery, the guts to confront our security agents because they have more weapons at their disposal.

“There is no support by local community in terms of the sharing of intelligence to our security agencies and of course even the capacity and capability of our security agencies to respond when this incident happened is almost next to nothing”, he said.

He said the situation had made it difficult for government agencies involved in security to go into ungoverned spaces to rescue kidnap victims.

“I mentioned the ungoverned spaces. Out of the 27 ministries, departments and agencies that are involved in security, there is none of them that would confidently and boldly go into the ungoverned spaces and rescue abducted persons,.

“Once someone is abducted, frankly, he is at the mercy of either negotiation or ransom payment”, he said