Retrieving, Destroying Illicit Firearms Will Ensure Peaceful General Election, Says NSA Monguno

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    By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

    National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno has said retrieving and destroying small arms and light weapons could ensure sustainable peace in theatres of war across the country.

    General Monguno stated this at a ceremony marking the destruction of over 3,000 assorted arms retrieved from various theatres of war across Nigeria at the Nigerian Army Command Engineering Deport Rigachukun, Kaduna.

    The programme for recovering firearms from unauthorized persons was carried out by National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), an agency headed by Major General Abba Mohammed Dikko (rtd) and supervised by the NSA who was represented at the occasion by Director Policy and Strategy, Ambassador Aminu Lawal.

    ” There is no gainsaying the fact the proliferation of SALW constitutes a huge threat to our national security. It has become a major source of vulnerability in our society and stands out as a key driver of violent conflict, crime and terrorism within and beyond our borders.

    “The failure of the global community to control the availability of illicit SALW, I dare say, has continued to undermine global peace and significantly hinder development especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We recognize the complexity of the challenge of controlling the proliferation of SALW in Nigeria and the requirement for concerted action between the government, international community and all well-meaning Civil Society Organsations.

    “Nonetheless, we are resolved to galvanise our strengths and unity as a nation to confront this monstrous challenge and I am optimistic that we shall overcome it”, he stated.

    ” The establishment of the Centre in 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari was a historic step towards addressing the problem of small arms proliferation through an institutional platform that would structurally address all underlying contributors to this national security threat within the framework of the various international protocols and instruments to which Nigeria is committed.

    “This action was also a demonstration of Nigeria’s commitment to the provisions of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW which requires all member states to establish national commissions to promote a multilateral approach to stamping out unregulated or uncontrolled circulation of SALW in the Sub-region.

    “Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted this morning to inform you that the Centre has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since its establishment and has achieved remarkable milestones within a very short time, one of which is the arms destruction exercise which we are witnessing today. I commend the Centre for the successful operationalization of its zonal offices across the country.

    “I am confident that by this action, a robust framework has been established for effective grassroots impact in our quest for a whole of society’s effort to eradicate illicit SALW. This weapons destruction exercise today gives a practical expression to the months of hard work and sustained engagements with key stakeholders since the establishment of the center.

    “Be that as it may, the task ahead of us remains very daunting, requiring the support of all Nigerians and the international community alike. I therefore want to seize this opportunity to convey Mr President’s commitment to providing the necessary support to strengthen the Centre’s capacity to deal with the multifaceted challenges that confront it. Government is working assiduously and engaging the NASS to ensure the expeditious passage of the Bill establishing the Centre.

    “This will provide the required legal framework to support a more robust discharge of the Centre’s mandate. Government is also taking firm steps through relevant Ministries and Government Agencies to tighten domestic controls to prevent and reduce the flow of SALW into illegal hands who are working to undermine our security .

    “This event today is a reminder to all Nigerians of our collective responsibility to support the security agencies and by extension the Government in our fight to defeat criminality, terrorism, banditry and all forms of behaviours that threaten our national wellbeing. It is a clarion call to reclaim our security space and restore our nation to the path of peace, security and development.

    “We as patriotic citizens must stand up to be counted at this time by providing information to the security agencies and we must trust the Government to bring the state’s authority to bear in ensuring that all Nigerians, wherever they may reside, enjoy the peace and security that they truly deserve.

    “As we draw closer to the general elections, it is important that Nigerians continue to uphold our culture of peace and resist overtures from those unpatriotic elements who have a penchant to heat up the polity and create a false sense of insecurity among our people during this season. We must eschew violence, shun political vigilantism and thuggery and discourage the proliferation of illicit SALW in all its forms as the Government will bring the full weight of the law,” he declared.

    Weapons destroyed included; assault rifles, pistols, shotgun, machine guns among others.

    General Dikko assured of the center’s preparedness to continue discharging her mandate of mopping out arms from unauthorized persons until goals and objectives of the agency which included ensuring peaceful and stable society where firearms were in the hands of authorized persons only could be said to have been achieved.

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