Arase, Egbetokun, others condemn proliferation of lethal weapons in Nigeria
- as NAOSNP organises Security Conference, Awards in Lagos
Proliferation of lethal weapons has been a source of worry to many Nigerians especially as it poses threat to the peace and tranquility of the country.
The question begging for an answer is how lethal weapons crept into the nation, when and who are the brains behind this unfortunately, the question remains unanswered as lethal weapons seem to be freely used by the young, old and underaged people without recourse to the rule of law across the country.
In most cases, the envisaged peace that many Nigerians are craving for, has suddenly become an expensive commodity in many quarters as law enforcement agencies in the country can no longer guarantee peace.
Lethal weapons are now freely used by armed robbers, kidnappers, vandals, land grabbers, cultists and other criminal elements in the country.
Unlike in the olden days when people with criminal intentions usually took to their heels on sighting men in uniform, findings have revealed that such now prefer to either challenge or attack the uniform men and choose ways of escape as the last option.
Last week, a good number of people were murdered in broad daylight in Sagamu, Ogun State when factions of suspected cultists held the ancient town hostage.
During the clash, a man in his 60s was said to have met his untimely death when he ran into the suspected cultists on his way from the farm.
Few days ago, a team of security operatives made up of soldiers, policemen, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were burnt alive by some gunmen in the Eastern part of the country.
Irked by this menace, the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) have organised its 2023 National Security Conference/Awards where sundry issues partaining to security challenges in the country were X- rayed with the intent to proffer solution.
The Conference with theme, “Uptick of Lethal Weapons as Security Threat: Arm-Full, Harm-full in New Dispensation”
The event took place on Thursday, September 21st, 2023, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos with the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), IGP Solomon Ehigiator Arase (rtd) as the
Keynote speaker and the Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Abubakar Ahmed Audi, fdc, as the Guest speaker.
Arase was represented by AIG Ade Shinaba (rtd) while Audi was represented by NSCDC Lagos State Commandant, Usman Ishaq Alfaderai.
In his keynote address, Arase lamented the dangers associated with lethal weapons and advised both the government and individuals on how to curtail it.
According to the Speaker, “One of the gravest threats to our national security today is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. These weapons have fueled conflicts, perpetuated violence, and destabilized communities across our
nation. It is a threat that requires immediate and concerted efforts from all stakeholders, and I am pleased to report that we are making significant strides in this regard, “he said.
the Force is collaborating with other security agencies on way forward,” The Nigeria Police Force, in collaboration with the National Commission for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons
(NCCSALW), has been actively engaged in initiatives to curb the spread of these lethal weapons.
“The NCCSALW, domiciled under the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), has played pivotal role in
coordinating these efforts. The partnership between the Nigeria Police Force and the NCCSALW has been instrumental in curbing the illicit trade and circulation of small arms and light weapons,” said the Speaker.
Arase commended the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his efforts in investing in security saying,” Furthermore, President Tinubu has demonstrated a strong commitment to equipping the Nigeria Police Force with cutting-edge equipment and technology.” “The acquisition of modern tools and resources, especially non-lethal weapons, is crucial in our efforts to counter the threats posed by armed groups and criminal organizations.
“With these investments, we are better positioned to confront emerging
security challenges and maintain law and order.
“In addition to these measures, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has been diligently working to ensure a more accountable and efficient
police force. We have actively addressed the issues that previously strained our relationship with the police, particularly those related to recruitment. The establishment of a Compliance Monitoring Unit within the PSC ensures that complaints and police investigations are carried out promptly, meticulously and followed through to their logical conclusion.. “
In his submission, the Guest Speaker said about 40 suspects were arrested in connection with pipeline vandalism in Lagos State.
Audi said the arrest took place within the year, 2023.
He stated that the sector also recovered many exhibits within the period.
According to him, “in recent times, there have been increased attempts to pipeline vandalism in Lagos, despite this, he said, the sector has been making efforts to ensure they stop these ties. ” we are in the forefront to fighting vandalism,”
He disclosed that the Lagos State government has set up strategies like community engagement, intelligence gathering, and technology to mitigate the menace.
Audi, however, called all Nigerians, and security agencies to come together in fighting this menace as it is a collective thing for a better Nigeria even as he reiterated the commission’s commitment to protecting our environment as its core duty.
The event also featured panelist discussion which featuured the likes of Kayode Odunuga, Head of Enforcement, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Spokesperson, Force Headquarters, Olumuyiwa Adejobi who represented the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and a security expert and Chief Executive Officer, Safety Signatures Limited, Dr. Cynthia Gregg, Head of Security, Leadway Assurance LTD, Mr. Imeh Udofia among others.
Ogunsan reiterated his staunch commitment to advancing the cause of safety and security in the country. He noted that he will continue to support all security agencies, federal and state-owned, in the country and urged officers to abide by the mandate of their respective agencies.
Cynthia Gregg, identified the need for individuals to have intimidate and dominion over their fellow man as one of the reasons for the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Nigerian Civil space, thereby resulting in insecurity and unsafe habitation.
Similarly, Adejobi called on residents and community Leaders to be vigilant in the area of security stating that individuals can arrest offenders where necessary.
He said such should be handed over to the Police as soon as the arrest is made.
He buttresed his claim with Section 12 of the Criminal Code which empowers individual Nigerians to arrest offenders.
Adejobi condemed proliferation of small arms, saying that anyone who wishes to possess fire arms must be licenced by the government.
“The law empowers military personnel, and law enforcement agencies to carry arms. It’s however frightening to see many individuals possessing firearms without being licensed by the authority,” he said.
Adejobi further stated that even dane guns, which are used by hunters in villages across the country, ought to be licensed as directed by the government, but that because they are seen as part of our culture, law agencies do not arrest the owners, but that such guns must be licensed.
“In Nigeria, everybody wants to posses firearm for one reason or the other which is the basis of the current problem we have now,” he said.
In his Opening address, NAOSNP President, Samson Oki enumerated some security challenges in Nigeria which he said are mostly caused by proliferation of lethal arms.
According to him, the present administration of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is campaigning against this. He said, “Proliferation of small arms, light arms and other illicit arms in the country is a source of concern to well meaning Nigerians in this new dispensation.
“It is the Harbinger of all security challenges for if there is no arm to attack, crime and criminality will be reduced to the bearest minimum, “he said.
He cited the case of killings in the North and South East saying this has overbloated population in some Internally Displaced camps across the country. “The case of killings in Plateau State and banditry in the Southern Kaduna and some parts of the North like the Mondays Stay at home in the South East and kidnappings and Oil theft among others are security threaths to the country.
“Uptick of lethal weapons is a security threat and harmful in this dispensation.” He added
Among the awardees are acting IGP Kayode Egbetokun, Chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, Board Member, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), Dr. Ayo Ogunsan, Commissioner of Police, Gombe State Command, CP Oqua Efiom Etim who was represented by ACP Olajide Agboola, Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit Ikoyi, CP Margaret Ochalla, Head of National Office, WAEC Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Areghan, Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, General Manager, LASTMA, Mr. Bolaji Oregba among others.