No fewer than 6,154,000 firearms are in the possession of civilians in the country, according to a report by SBM Intelligence.
The report stated that the firearms were put at 3.21 per 100 persons, while a total of 224,200 and 362,400 firearms were in the possession of the military law and other law enforcement agencies, respectively.
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons has been attributed to the spate of insecurity in the country despite several efforts, including the approval for the establishment of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons by the Federal Government, to curb the infiltration of firearms in the country.
Similarly, the National Assembly passed the Bill for the establishment of a National Commission for Coordination and Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
However, findings have revealed that the President had yet to assent to the Bill. According to the website of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, the Bill, when signed by the President, will allow the agency to be an independent body, enabling it to carry out its functions effectively.
However, the Nigeria Police Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, described the report as inaccurate. According to him, “We don’t think there’s going to be an increase in the number of guns in the wrong hands because of the systems we’ve put in place to curb such. We no longer have inflows from foreign countries as we used to have. The only problem we have to surmount now is arresting those who produce these firearms locally, and with the help of citizens reporting to the police, we can achieve this. Hence, we are thinking outside the box in all these areas to mop out illegal firearms and arrest more criminal elements.
“As for those who might have plans to foment trouble, we warn them to desist from such as we’ll not hesitate to deal with them according to the provisions of the law. We have the Electoral Act, and we urge politicians to play by the rules, and go about the electioneering peacefully”, he stated.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, were not successful as he had yet to respond to an inquiry sent to him on the matter as of the time of filing this report.