DHQ worried over proliferation of arms, light weapons - OPID News

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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

DHQ worried over proliferation of arms, light weapons

 DHQ worried over proliferation of arms, light weapons 

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said the proliferation of small arms and light weapons poses a systemic threat to the country.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, said this yesterday at a public hearing on “A Bill For An Act To Enable Effect Be Given, In The Federal Republic Of Nigeria, To The ECOWAS Convention On Small Arms And Light Weapons, Their Ammunition And Other Related Materials Made In Abuja On June 14, 2006 And For Related Matters.”

It was organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements.

Irabor, who was represented by AVM T. O. Yusuf, said the Bill was a welcome development, given the threat the proliferation of weapons poses to national well-being.

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“On the proposed Bill, it was well received and it is pertinent to state that the DHQ is of the view that proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria poses a systemic threat to the nation’s long-term socio-economic development as well as security,” he said.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba said the police were aware of the disastrous consequences of the prevalence of weapons on prolongation of armed conflict and the exploitation of natural resources of member-states.

Represented by the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Armament, Mohammed Lawan, the police boss said the force remained committed to peace building and prevention of conflict among member-states.

The Chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, said out of the over 400 treaties and agreements Nigeria had signed, only  11 had been domesticated.

He said: “It means we are not moving forward. Under my headship as chairman of this committee, we have already forwarded about 25 domestications, the first of its kind, since 1999 and we intend to reach up to 50 to 100 to domesticate in the next two years. We feel that the Nigeria people must be able to derive some benefits of what our fathers and the current people who have gone to represent Nigeria to sign these agreements.”

The lawmaker said the Bill passed second reading at the plenary on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 and was referred to the committee for further legislative action.

“It is for this purpose that we now hold this interactive session with you as good representatives of your respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, including the civil society organisations, as development partners, the press and the general public,” he said.

There was a mild drama during the hearing as two men in the audience, Mr. Kingsley Chikezie and Mr. Chijioke Okoro, claimed to represent the Importers Association of Nigeria.

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