The acting Director-General of National Taskforce, Baba Mohammed, said Nigeria must domesticate ECOWAS treaties and conventions because of the alarming proliferation of arms, and weapons into the country.
Mohammed was represented by the Director of Katsina State Command, Alhaji Mustaba Abdullahi in an interview with newsmen after the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements public hearing on a “bill for Act to enable effect to be given in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the ECOWAS convention on small arms and light weapons, ammunition and other related matters.
The acting DG said Nigeria was the biggest recipient of illegal arms, saying NATFORCE’s responsibility is to synergise with other security agencies in tackling proliferation.
He said his organisation will throw its weight behind the bill in view of the urgent need to tackle illegal importation of arms which he said has heightened criminality in the country, while believing that the domestication of the treaties would give effect to the nation in dealing with arms smugglers.
Alhaji Abdullahi who spoke on behalf of the DG, revealed that he is also a member of the governing body of Natforce which is aimed at combating illegal arms, small and light weapons and ammunition.
He expressed optimism that the bill will translate into an act, given that all security agencies and paramilitary organisations lent their support.
He maintained: “So far the outcome of this public hearing consists of stakeholders of the industry that are involved in the organization as presently here and have given their support to the bill.
“It is a welcome development towards making the bill come into existence. Of course, everyone wants his name to be written in gold and what we are seeing today is that everyone wants their names to be written in history, therefore, it generated what you are seeing today.
“This bill today is Nigeria’s resident home of ECOWAS and with the outbreak of illegal weapons in Africa, Nigeria needs to act urgently.
“ECOWAS under the United Nations Charter, they have made a very good decision towards creating an agency in the ECOWAS States which were to combat proliferation, importation of light, small, chemical arms and ammunition.”
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai assured that the report would be submitted to the Committee of the whole in record time to enable legislative activities on the bill.
The public hearing was well attended as all security agencies, stakeholders, representatives, including heads of paramilitary organisations were present and presented their position papers.