The proposed bill for the establishment of the National Taskforce on Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NATFORCE) was on Thursday opposed by some stakeholders including the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), at a public hearing in Abuja.
The NCS, represented by Usman Dakingari, an Assistant Controller General of Customs, was of the view that arms proliferation can be checked at the borders. He also called for the establishment of a National Database for Weapons, saying Customs is ready to work with other security agencies to curb the menace of arms smuggling.
However, a former Customs officer and now a member of the upper legislative chamber, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, faulted the position of the National Security Adviser, saying that the NSA has failed in his responsibility.
“The NSA is yet to do its work. This bill started during President Olusegun Obasanjo. When we called forensic into the army, police; we discovered 178,000 arms and ammunition lost to criminals,” he said.
Speaking earlier while declaring the public hearing open, Senate President Ahmad Lawan linked challenges associated with small and light weapons to crises in the Sahel.
Lawan, who spoke through Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Shuaibu Lau, said the proliferation of weapons triggered terrorism in the country.
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