THE proliferation of small arms in Nigeria has become worrisome in recent years despite attempts by authorities to reduce unlawful firearms in circulation.
For instance, in February 2018, the then Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris directed commissioners of Police to commence the recovery of prohibited firearms in the country.
Also, in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari sent to the Senate two bills that seek to control the proliferation of arms and regulate the importation and exportation of explosives in the country.
They are the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWS) Bill 2021; and Explosives Bill 2021.
The Senate passed the bill that seeks to establish the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The bill consolidates three bills, including the Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020(SB. 283).
The legislation aims to combat the challenges associated with SALWs in Nigeria following the United Nations Treaties and ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs).
Police data on illegal arms and ammunition recovered in Nigeria between January 2020 to September 2022
The Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in response to a request from The ICIR, said the Police are doing a lot in the area of mopping up of arms.
“We have done a lot in the area of mopping up of arms; I will send you statistics to show our recoveries. However, I can’t ascertain the specific figure of illegal arms we have in circulation. Not possible,” Adejobi said.
According to the statistics obtained from the Police, the highest number of illegal arms and ammunition recovered are as follows; Bauchi State in the Northeast has a total of 46,366, which is the highest number of illegal arms and ammunition recovered during this period.
This is followed by Anambra state in the Southeast with 31,711 and Delta State with 14,486 within the same period.
They are followed by Zamfara state in Northwest Nigeria, with 4,250 illegal arms and ammunition recovered.
Also included on the list of states with a high number of illegal arms and ammunition recovered is Cross River state in the South-south with 3,136.
On the other hand, Akwa Ibom (South-South), with 347; Osun (South West), with 219; Ekiti (South West) 154 and Ebonyi (South East), with 141, are the states with the lowest number of illegal arms and ammunition recovered by the Police.
However, Sokoto state in the Northwest has the least recovered arms and ammunition, with 37.
The numbers are a combination of Arms and ammunition put together