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Nigeria disposes over 6000 illegal weapon

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Weapon control effect has significantly improved safety and security in Nigeria.

Retired Major General Okechukwu Ugo, the Southeast Zonal Coordinator for the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), has revealed that more than 6,000 illegal and old small arms and light weapons have been found and safely disposed of by different security agencies and operational theatres in different parts of the country. During a single-day seminar in Enugu focused on controlling the spread of small arms and illicit weapons, he revealed that these efforts have significantly improved safety and security in Nigeria and worldwide.

The efforts to recover and destroy these illegal possessions, following UN guidelines, have played a crucial role in stopping these arms from being reused in their communities. He said the seminar theme “Multi-sectoral Synergy Towards the Control of Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria” was specifically selected to highlight the critical importance of unity and partnership among all parties in the fight against the illegal distribution of weapons. The meeting of distinguished security experts is expected to spark productive conversations and generate innovative solutions to enhance the safety of the region and the entire nation.

Progress has been made in enhancing the capacity of the agencies.

He also mentioned the significant progress made in enhancing the capacity and knowledge of law enforcement agencies in the region through training programs and workshops conducted by the Centre. These training sessions have focused on improving the skills and expertise of security personnel in detecting, confiscating, and safely disposing of illegal materials. The Centre has also worked closely with local communities to raise awareness about the dangers of illegal arms proliferation and the importance of reporting any suspicious activities related to weapons trafficking.

Gen. Ugo emphasised the Centre’s commitment to forming partnerships at sub-regional, regional, and global levels to tackle the issue of illicit arms. He highlighted ongoing engagements with multiple international stakeholders in this effort. He recalled the recent conference at the Centre in Abuja, where delegates from all the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries gathered for a two-day event. They brainstormed strategies to enhance intelligence sharing to combat cross-border trafficking and illegal trade of weapons. He emphasised that the Centre actively engages in regional and global discussions on SALW through ECOWAS, AU, and the UN to uphold Nigeria’s compliance with international standards.

Collaboration with key stakeholders from different sectors is essential.

As the first Zonal Coordinator for the Southeast region, he has played a crucial role in assisting the National Headquarters in fulfilling the Centre’s vision, goals, and mission. The SE Zonal Office is diligently working to spread awareness through radio and TV commercials and collaborations with key individuals from various sectors of society. The stakeholders he identified included leaders of faith-based organisations, traditional rulers, journalists, and youth groups. Their involvement has helped meet the quota for recovering those weapons from various units and formations in their designated region while sharing important information with key parties involved.

Furthermore, the commander praised the Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, for his ongoing assistance in providing a significant piece of land for constructing a permanent office building in Enugu City and other technical support. He commended the Chief of Army Staff, with the assistance of the GOC, 82 Division, for allocating the land for building an armoury and supplying necessary administrative and operational resources. General Ugo expressed gratitude towards security agencies in Enugu and neighbouring states for their collaborative efforts as he continued to strive for increased operational cooperation.

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Lastly, Gen. Ugo reiterated the importance of continued collaboration and coordination among security agencies, government officials, civil society organisations, and international partners in the fight against the illicit trade of small arms. He stressed the need for a strategic approach that addresses the supply and demand for illegal weapons and focuses on preventative measures, such as community engagement, education, and economic development. Through these collective efforts, the Centre aims to create a safer and more secure environment for all Nigerians.

Related Link

SALW: Website

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