By Abdulwaheed Olayinka Adubi, Kaduna.
The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons has assured Nigerians, particularly those in the Northwest of its commitment to checkmate the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons in the Country.
The Zonal Coordinator, Northwest Zone of the Center, Air Vice Marshal Haruna Umar Mohammed (retired) gave the assurance in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Kaduna.
According to AVM Mohammed, the Center remains the only government body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the collection, storage, destruction, management and stockpiling of obsolete, seized, unmarked and illegally held small arms and light weapons.
AVM Mohammed disclosed that the Centre was established in May, 2021 with Zonal offices in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said the Center keeps weapons collected from peace accords or programs, or those voluntarily handed over and as well, create and maintain a national database on all small arms and light weapons.
Mohammed further stated that, the Center is domiciled in the office of the National Security Adviser, Abuja and it replaces the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“He recalled that the Center received 760 small arms and light weapons recovered from bandits and criminal elements by the 8 Division Nigerian Army Sokoto in its Area of Operational Responsibility in June 2022. The handing over took place at 26 Battalion, Giginya Barracks Parade Ground Sokoto. The weapons were recovered from Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina States respectively.”
“In addition to the arms recovered, over 14,000 ammunition of different calibre were handed over to the Center as well.
“0n the 24th November, 2022, the Centre carried out arms destruction exercise. The by-products of the destroyed weapons are being being recycled for other purposes while on March 15th, 2023, there was voluntary surrender of one (1) AK47 rifle, one (1) magazine and two hundred and ten (210) rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition to the NCCSALW, Northwest Zonal Office in Kaduna” He confirmed.
The Zonal Coordinator however expressed dismay over the attitude of some unauthorized bodies that are deceitfully parading themselves as the local organization for the control of Illicit small arms and light weapons, as well as creating false impressions of legitimacy and authority.
He therefore urged Nigerians to disregard these unauthorized bodies and report them to security agencies.
He advised citizens to also report any suspected bodies parading themselves as staff of the Centre to the Headquarters of the Northwest Zonal Office located at Kaduna.