The uncontrolled proliferation of tens of thousands of arms into the country is the major catalyst for youth restiveness and violent agitations in some parts of the country.
More often than not it leads to all manners of social vices, death, kidnapping, armed robbery, conflicts and outright disrespect to the constituted authority.
From January to September 27, 2017 alone, different categories of small and other dangerous arms were intercepted by Nigeria Custom Service.
The recent of the interception was Pump action rifle cleverly concealed in a container box being transferred to the country. The illegal flooding of arms to Nigeria if not checked might grossly infringe and violate the African Charter on Human and people ‘s Rights and National status.
However, the Charter on Human Rights and abuses categorically includes rights to life, Liberty, Movement, Rights not to be deprived of one’s property, freedom from fear, from inhuman treatment or torture, Rights of security and communal rights.
It is however unhealthy to the Nation the devastating effects of the proliferation of arms across the country in recent time. The availability of arms in the hands of an unauthorized citizens will render the enormous efforts put in place by the security Agents to maintain sanity in the country helpless.
Unless drastic measures is taking by the relevant authority to carefully address this trend it might post grave danger to the peace hitherto enjoyed in the country particularly now that the nation is bedeviled with different kinds of agitations among the diverse ethnic nationalities and the forthcoming general Elections 2019.
The Nation’s borders should be vigorously manned, fortified and tightened up to prevent illegal movement of individuals involves in this evil practices to the Nation.
To this end, it is imperative and crucial to state that the advantage of drawing the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC] became apparently obvious considering the global connections and recognitions given to ICRC in Humanitarian services, disaster management and arms conflicts around the World.
The International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC]and other security Agents can as a matter of urgency bring to bear their local expertise and links with other local actors to closely and professionally checkmate the importation and movement of arms into the country. Looking at the global connection of ICRC in Humanitarian affairs, they can easily gain access to countries where some of these arms are coming into the country.
Through collaboration with both local and international players in the importation of arms, through strong determination and political will it can be discouraged taking into accounts the monumental danger it might post to the corporate existence of the country.
Undoubtedly, the role of ICRC in Humanitarian service cannot be overemphasized with regards to its duties across all strata of human endeavor generally regard ICRC as a formidable and impartial Humanitarian organization. This make them command respect and attention Worldwide in peace building and conflict mitigation. It is against this backdrop to say that the ultimate aims of involving ICRC in this regard is specifically to help limit the transportation, importation and otherwise the proliferation of arms into the country as part of its corporate social responsibility to the host country Nigeria. It is much more better to control crime before it begins. The ICRC and other relevant NGOs in the country should rise to the challenge toward ensuring that there is absolute limits, control and transfer of arms into Nigeria by blowing the whistle.
As I mentioned earlier, it is better and advantageous to all and sundry to mitigate conflicts before it escalates into a level that can no longer be managed. The earlier the better for us before victims of arms conflicts begins to look for Humanitarian aids. Security Agents across the Nation’s airspace should also put more effort in the discharge of duty for the safety and protection of the country.
An estimated 85 percent conflicts and death in any vulnerable environment solely dependent on the volumes of arms available to the perpetrators of violence. Consequently, Children, Women and the elderly are mostly affected as results of arms proliferation in the hands of unauthorised individuals. Just as the saying goes’ ‘’He who controls the arms controls the power’’ There is a compelling need for the three arms of government to proactively work together with a view to honestly and courageously apply all the relevant sections of the constitution relating to firearms to expeditiously nip in the bud the incessant cases of arms flooding into the country.
The Judiciary should be more holistic and proactive in this regard while applying the relevant provisions of the constitution to deal decisively with the issues of illegal importation of firearms into the country . The perpetrators should not only face the full wrath of the law but should be used as an escape goat to others no matter how highly placed they are. Nigerians should not allow the prevailing sectional agitations in some parts of the country to cloud our moral reasoning in an issues that is capable of threatening the corporate existence of our dear nation, rather we should think of what unit us than what divide us. There is no doubt saying the obvious that some disgruntle elements in the country are benefiting seriously from this inimical game for their worldly desires.
Again, the Unity and diversity of the country is not negotiable. If any segments of the population that make up the component Unit called [Nigeria] have any grievances, let it be done in a more constructive, holistic and peaceful manner not through violence agitations or flooding the country with dangerous weapon. No meaningful development can be attained when there is no peace in the country.
For a Nation to achieve peaceful co-existence, there is need to regulate and restrict the usage of firearms in the hands of the security apparatus except few individuals that are legally licensed by the federal government for self defense. But when an unauthorised individuals carry arms’ the first question that comes to mind is’ who control who? Is it the security apparatus or an unauthorised individuals that bear firearms?.
More importantly, the proliferation and importation of arms into the country have crossed the Nation’s red line hence the need to declare state of emergency on illegal transfer of arms into Nigeria to forestall total breakdown of law and order as well as to enable government have full control of the citizens and none citizens. A Stitch in time saves nine. God bless Nigeria.
Shuaibu Danjuma, is Head of media and communications, Bauchi State Directorate .. Shaibudanjuma165@yahoo.com