- Arms stolen from police stations
- Military, Police intensify audit
Tension is now mounting in security circles over 300,000 missing guns alleged to be in circulation, The Point’s investigations have revealed. Impeccable sources within the Police revealed to our correspondent that authorities were worried, not only about how the guns got into the wrong hands but also about the arrow heads behind the buying and distribution of the illegal weapons.
There have been pockets of insurgency leading to mass killings in the North Eastern part of the country, for instance, where over 100,000 persons have been killed and properties worth billions of naira destroyed by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Appraising the security situation in Abuja two weeks ago, a joint security meeting, which had in attendance, senior officers from the Police, Army, Air Force, Navy, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Directorate of State Security, deliberated on the missing 300,000 guns, which experts said, might have aided the upsurge in criminal activities nationwide.
Top officials close to the meeting told The Point that, at the joint security meeting, held in Asokoro, the Police and other arm-bearing security agencies were encouraged to carry out periodic audits of their armouries from where many of the arms and ammunition were suspected to have disappeared.
An independent source informed The Point that a chunk of the missing guns in circulation had been traced to the looting of police armouries by Boko Haram insurgents who had been attacking, randomly, some police stations in the northern part of the country. The attacked police stations usually lost both arms and officers to the insurgents.
Another police source from the South Eastern part of the country also revealed that in Imo State, for instance, “almost all the arms and ammunition recovered/submitted to the authorities shortly after the civil war have vanished from the “War Museum” and found their ways into individual hands.”
This, insiders said, had been a source of worry to the government, especially now that the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Biafra Independent Movement and Indigenous People of Biafra are agitating for self-determination.
THE ROLE OF POLITICIANS AND SMUGGLERS
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the egg-heads at the joint security meetings also linked the unwholesome activities of some dubious politicians, who reportedly arm political thugs for polls, to the missing guns. Activities of armed smugglers were also reappraised, while the arm of the government responsible for the provision of enhanced security at Nigeria’s border posts/ports were encouraged to intensify action on intelligence gathering.
ACTIVISTS, EXPERTS REACT
Aside from the thousands of guns that have been said to have strayed into the wrong hands, our correspondent gathered that it might be difficult to agree on the actual number of illegally acquired guns in circulation.
For instance, a human rights campaign group under the aegis of Nigeria 4 Safer Life, being championed by a Nigerian-America based activist, Samuel Enudi, said over 800,000 guns could have been illegally acquired and strayed into the wrong hands after all.
Enudi, who feared that the illegal guns in circulation might be increasing gradually, especially in the eastern part of the country, called on the authorities, particularly the police, and other relevant bodies to do something fast about the development to frestall dangerous consequences.
The activist, who made a brief visit to the country a few months back, told The Point that illegal guns were posing insecurity challenges in every part of the country and called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to do more in curtailing the spate of insecurity in the country.
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