- Places embargo on issuance of new arm licences
By Ese Awhotu
As the nation prepares to elect leaders at all levels in February, the Inspector General of Police, Adamu has called on Nigerians to voluntarily surrender illicit arms in their possession to government.
A statement yesterday by the spokesman by ACP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer,
Force Headquarters Abuja said the IGP’s call was consequent upon intelligence indicating the presence of huge quantity of arms in unlawful possession of some Nigerians, the desperation of some citizens to acquire more arms, and the continued proliferation of illicit weapons in the polity, with the attendant negative and security implications.
“The Inspector General of Police, Ag IGP Mohammed A. Adamu NPM, mni , has called on all Nigerians currently in unlawful possession of such weapons to immediately ensure a voluntary return of the weapons to Police Station or Public Armoury nearest to them,” the statement said.
It added that the IGP has also, with immediate effect, placed an embargo on the issuance of New Licences for designated arms throughout the country.
The IGP advised Nigerians to take advantage of the “voluntary arms return window” and do the right thing as there will be dire consequences for defaulters and those who fail to heed the call.
Meanwhile, the Force said it has perfected plans to embark on a massive, nationwide Joint Arms Mopping up Operations.
“The operation which will be intelligent driven and target oriented, is designed to retrieve all illicit weapons in circulation, halt the on-going proliferation of weapons, restore law and order and bring perpetrators to justice,” the statement said.
Recall that alarm has been raised in various quarters in respect of the unrestrained proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) in the country which has increased tremendously in recent years.
With the 2019 general election commencing in February, there have been growing concerns about the impending danger facing the conduct of peaceful elections in the country owing to this ugly development.
The Federal Government had last year raised the alarm that unless urgent steps are taken to mop up firearms and ammunition in the country, the conduct of 2019 general elections would be threatened by conflicts.
Minister of Interior, Lieutenant Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd), who expressed the concerns at a meeting with Service Chiefs and heads of security agencies on how to tackle the proliferation of firearms and drug trafficking in the country in Abuja, said that intelligent reports have indicated that there were currently over 350 million firearms and light weapons in Nigeria.
Dambazau, who said it was a disturbing trend that some politicians armed militia groups to be used against the opponents, said the government was concerned with consignments of firearms coming into the country with the 2019 elections around the corner.
However, as part of efforts to end arms proliferation, the Federal Government has taken several measures to tackle the porous nature of the Nigeria’s borders, which has trigger transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, money laundering, arms and human trafficking, all of which are combining with several other factors to undermine the nation’s security.