Insecurity: Center Recovers, Destroys Over 6,000 Weapons In Nigeria, Says Coordinator

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By;   KELVIN OKPARA, Enugu 

The Southeast Zonal Coordinator of the National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light weapons,(SALW) Major General Okechukwu Ugo (Rtd) has  hinted that as at today, the Centre has recovered and destroyed not less than 6,000 illicit and obsolete small arms and light weapons from various security agencies and operational theatres around Nigeria. 

He said: “As at today, the centre has recovered and destroyed over 6,000 illicit and obsolete SALW from various security agencies and operational theatres around the Country. These recoveries and destruction exercises, which are in line with UN conventions, have contributed immensely to prevent the recycling of these illicit arms back into our society” he stated.

General Ugo  made this known on  Wednesday in Enugu during  a one day seminar on the control of proliferation of small arms and illicit weapons with the theme: ‘Multi sectoral Synergy towards control of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria: implications for national security’

He  noted that the  recoveries and destruction exercises, which are in line with UN conventions, have contributed immensely to prevent the recycling of these illicit arms back into our society, thereby enhancing safety and security in Nigeria and globally.

The retired Army General said the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, realizing the need for sub-regional, regional and global partnerships in this fight against the menace of illicit arms, has engaged and continues to engage various international stakeholders in the field.

He recalled that the centre recently hosted representatives of all countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to a two-day conference in Abuja to fashion out ways of sharing intelligence to ensure that cross border trafficking and illicit trade of SALW are checkmated. 

According to him, the  Centre,  also participates in various regional and global fora on SALW under the auspices of ECOWAS, AU and UN regularly to ensure that Nigeria conforms to global best practices in this regard. 

“The Southeast Zonal Office, which I am privileged to be its pioneer Zonal Coordinator, has continued to support the National Headquarters to achieve the overall vision, mission and objectives of the Centre. 

He said, “The SE Zonal Office has been carrying out necessary awareness campaigns via radio and television jingles as well as engagements with critical stakeholders from different segments of the society.

” These stakeholders  include traditional rulers, leaders of faith-based organisations, journalists, youth groups and many more. We have also contributed our quota in the retrieval of obsolete and illicit arms from units and formations within our area of responsibility as well as sharing of intelligence with relevant stakeholders. 

“The Southeast Zonal Office remains grateful to the Enugu State Government, ably led by His Excellency Governor Peter Mbah, for their continuous support. We are grateful to the State Government for the allocation of a sizeable plot of land for the construction of our permanent office complex within Enugu metropolis as well as other technical aids we have received so far.

” We also thank the Chief of Army Staff, through the GOC, for the plot of land given to us for the construction of our armoury and so many other administrative and operational supports which the 82 Division has been extending to us. 

“Our appreciation also goes to heads of other security agencies within Enugu State and indeed other states in the Southeast Zone, for their cooperation and collaboration, which have made it much easier for us to operate effectively. 

“The theme of this Seminar  has been carefully chosen to bring forth the urgent need for collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders against this menace of the spread of illicit SALW. 

“It is believed that interactions and discussions within this august gathering of eminent and erudite personalities in the security sector would engender positive ideas towards making our Region and the whole nation much safer.” He stated.

 The event was attended by the media, Civil Society groups,  security operatives from the Nigeria police, Military,  Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corpse NSCDC, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), amongst others 

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