Stakeholders seek ways to curb Proliferation of illicit small arms and weapons in Nigeria 

Stakeholders comprise of senior Army officers,senior  police officers, National Drug Law  Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), Nigeria  Security Civil Defence Corps(  NSCDC) Media practitioners , members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Thursday, met in Enugu  to proffer solutions on the challenges of proliferation  of illicit small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, saying that possession of illicit weapons have caused loss of lives, kidnapping banditry and some other socio-economic loss in the country 

Speaking at  a One-Day seminar on  the theme,” Multi-sectoral  synergy towards control  of proliferation  of small arms and  light weapons in Nigeria : Implications for national security “, held in  Enugu. the organizer of the seminar and Zonal Coordinator, South East Zonal Office, National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light weapons,Enugu Major General Okechukwu Ugo, in an address, said the seminar was aimed at  brainstorming inorder to proffer solutions and achieving an illicit arms-free society.

Pix- South East Zonal Coordinator f

He observed that ,”the menace of the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons is directly responsible for much of the untold human suffering in our society today.” 

According to him,” these weapons on their own do not cause conflict. Rather, it is the easy access to them and the recklessness of their use that make violence more lethal and conflicts more protracted. These SALW have become weapons of choice for criminals, terrorists and bandits in Nigeria and beyond, posing a significant challenge to our dear country especially in the wake of many crises that have engulfed our Geo-political Zone and the nation at large”.

He noted that  the impact of uncontrolled proliferation of SALW in Nigeria is of grave concern to every citizen and organization at the seminar.

.Pix– The Discussants. NUJ chairman Comrade Sam Udekwe

“Worried by this ugly trend and its attendant consequences, the Federal Government of Nigeria authorised the establishment of the National Centre for the Control of SALW on 3rd May 2021. The Centre was established “to serve as the institutional platform to stem the proliferation of small arms within the framework of the various international protocols and instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.

” By establishing this Centre, the Federal Government has demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to the provisions of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW which requires each of its 15 member states to establish national institutions to promote multilateral approach to stamping out illicit arms trade in the West African Sub-region., Ugo said.

Pix:S/East Coordinator Okechukwu Ugo

He disclosed that since its establishment, the Centre has hit the ground running with its National Headquarters in Abuja under the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Centre has 6 active Zonal Offices (one in each of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria). The Southeast Zonal Office is located in Enugu and caters for the five states of the Zone. 

“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, thereby enhancing safety and security in Nigeria and globally.

“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. 


 NUJ members

NUJ members

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. 

“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,he said.

The Zonal Coordinator went further to say that the Southeast Zonal Office, has continued to support the National Headquarters to achieve the overall vision, mission and objectives of the Centre.

 Pix:- CSO members Amb.Amaka Nweke( 3rd L) and Ozor(1st R)

He added that the  Zonal Office has been carrying out necessary awareness campaigns  on 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. 

“Ugo thanked Enugu  state  Governor Peter Mbah, for allocating a  plot of land for the construction of their  permanent office complex within Enugu metropolis as well as other technical aids they  have received so far. 

He also thanked the Chief of Army Staff, for the plot of land given to them for the construction of their armoury and so many other administrative and operational supports which the 82 Division has been extending to them.

 The Zonal Coordinator thanked the heads of other security agencies within Enugu State and other states in the Southeast Zone, for their cooperation and collaboration, which have made it easier for them to operate effectively. .

.”He called for synergy, noting that ,” We have a better chance of achieving a safer environment if we work together as it is very clear that none of us can be smarter than all of us.”

Pix : Garrisim Commander, Brig. General Abu

Goodwill messages were from the  General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Hassan Dada ,who was represented by the Garrison Commander, Brig. General M M. Abu. He identified three factors, namely, corruption, arms and drugs(CAD) as the major problems in Nigeria .


The G O.C. said the number of weapons outside was alarming. He suggested strict laws against illegal possession of arms should be promulgated  to curb the the menace. He also called for collaboration  with stakeholders.

Other heads of Security agencies that delivered goodwill messages included the representative of the I’ve  ,Enugu Police Commander, Kanayo Uzuegbu, who was represented by ACP Onyeamu Akaeme  Onyeamu He suggested that politicians, ,local producers and informants should  be carried along so as to help in curbing the menace .

ACP Onyean

epresentative  of the NSCDC, DCC A N  . Rogo, HOD, I intelligence and Investigation also delivered a goodwill message. Lectures were delivered by Lt. Col. Reginald Isiguzo,(Rtd), and Dr Benedict Ugwuanya

A Discussants and Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Comrade Sam Udekwe  spoke on the role of the media in curbing  proliferation  of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

.He said the media should communicate to the members of the public, the negative aspect of possession of illicit small arms and light weapons 

There were questions , answers and comment session.

Author- Maureen Ikpeama

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