The Nigerian Navy has said some soldiers of the Republic of Chad, one of Nigeria’s neighbours, are compounding the insecurity situation in the country as they sell their weapons to willing buyers when they lack money.
Awwal Gambo, the Chief of Naval Staff, said this at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives committee on national security and intelligence on the consideration of four security bills on Monday.
According to Gambo, who was represented by Commodore Jemila Sadiq Abubakar, the weapons donated by developed nations to some neighbouring nations to Nigeria is fuelling the banditry and insurgency wars the Nigerian military is battling in the North-West and North-East regions of the country.
He noted that some of the neighbouring countries do not have armouries to store the weapons donated by foreign powers, thereby providing an opportunity for such countries’ security operatives to sell them off when they are “broke”, thereby facilitating arms proliferation.
He said: “Section 9 (1) suggests an additional function of proposing a seized weapons and arms be used by security agencies; I think we can look at the provisions of the international convention on the issue of how the arms should be used when seized,” she said.
“Other sections have been addressed by our colleagues, so I’m sure their presentations have been submitted.
“I want to contribute to the coming seminar on the operation of arms to be organised by the house of representatives.
“I was in charge as a member of the fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically here, I stand to be corrected, that some of these countries that we have borders with have no armoury.
“They do not have armoury. So most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here, and I am saying it.
“Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries that are donating such arms to these countries, I think we should insist that they should either enact laws to govern the handling of these arms and ammunition or build an armoury for these countries or else we will not see peace.”
Speaking earlier, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, said “knowledge would be drawn from everywhere,” because security is an important national issue.
“The security agencies are welcome to make submissions but everyone is welcome to submit as well. I say so because I want to underscore the fact that security is about everyone and we are all stakeholders,” he said.