The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, on Tuesday in Abuja, blamed the increasing cases of insecurity in the country on proliferation of small arms, drug trafficking and abuse insisting that without firearms and drugs, those perpetrating the violence would not have the courage to do so with such magnitude as seen in the violent conflicts between farmers and headers in Benue and other places.
Dambazau, who made the above declaration when he held a crucial closed-door meeting with heads of internal security agencies over the security challenges in the country, further, expressed concern over the current security situation in the country.
He also noted that the meeting was a follow-up to a meeting with state governors two weeks ago over the violent conflicts between farmers and headers in Benue and other places.
He said “One of the issues that came up in the communiqué was the issue of the proliferation of small arms and drug trafficking and abuse.
“We also found out that these two issues are triggers to the violence taking place in this country,”.
“Without the fire arms and drugs, those who partake in violence would not have the courage to carry out the kind of violence taking place in this country,”
The minister said that there was need to take urgent steps toward ensuring that the situation was dealt with accordingly.
“As a follow-up I called for this meeting so that we can examine and analyse (the situation) to see how best we can deal with the situation,” he said.
On the report by the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament, which stated that there were approximately 500 million assorted fire arms in West Africa and that out of this figure, 350 million (representing 70 per cent) are in Nigeria, he said that a large consignment of weapons had been smuggled from North Africa (in particular Libya) as a consequence of crises in that country.
He said “The situation is worsened by the insurgency in the North East because of the supply of weapons to the insurgents and terrorists there.
“Likewise the supply of weapon to the militants in the Niger Delta through exchange of stolen crude oil and supply by politicians to deal with their opponents,”.
“It is very necessary for us to secure our country and of course a more challenging aspect of that which facilitate the smuggling of weapons, is our porous borders and this is a major challenge to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigeria Custom Service in particular but to all law enforcement agencies,” he said.
On the issue of the farmers/herders conflicts, kidnapping, ethno-religious crises, terrorism, armed robbery, cultism and militancy, he insisted that they all had something to do with weapons and drugs, adding that federal government cannot handle the challenges without continued partnership with state governments and religious organizations
The meeting had in attendance representatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Directorate of State Services, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Customs Service, and the United Nations Development Programme, among others.
Augustine Okezie, Abuja