President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed disappointment over the unrelenting security challenges that has engulfed the country. The President bemoaned the fact that the situation has not simmered down despite the closure of the land borders that was aimed at curbing the smuggling of arms and ammunition.
The President stated this on Friday, during the 6th regular meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, led by Professor Doyin Salami in Abuja.
“Some people are mercilessly against this country.”
“We closed the borders to control the smuggling of petroleum products, and check the influx of smuggled goods, arms and ammunition”.
“That was when the Comptroller General of Customs called me, saying 40 tankers laden with petrol had been impounded. I told him to sell the fuel, sell the trucks, and put the money in the treasury”.
“They still brought arms and ammunition into the country, brought in rice in vehicles and motorcycles. I said shoot anyone found illegally with AK-47, yet they haven’t stopped. People must show consideration for their own country.”
In a March 2017 research report titled, ‘The Human Cost of Uncontrolled Arms in Africa’, Oxfam had estimated that Nigeria had two million small and light arms in the hands on non-state actors. In October 2020, an Africa-focused geopolitical research firm, SBM Intelligence, also raised the alarm that the proliferation of small arms and ammunition was driving the increasing rate of violence in Nigeria.
In the report tagged, ‘Small Arms, Mass Atrocities and Migration in Nigeria’, the firm noted that “the number of small arms in circulation in Nigeria, in the hands of civilian non-state actors is estimated at 6,145,000, while the armed forces and law enforcement collectively account for 586,600 firearms.”
Nigeria faces a plethora of security challenges ranging from violent extremism, to farmer-herder conflict, banditry, a revived secessionist movement, police repression, piracy, and attacks on oil infrastructure, among others.
The only way out for the government to strengthen national identity, harness the aspirations of youth to advance governance reform, create more accountability within the security services, and avoid the militarisation of every security challenge.