The Importers Association of Nigeria has called on the federal government to include the association in the board of the proposed National Commission for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
The association made this call on Monday at the public hearing on a bill to give effect to the ECOWAS convention on small arms and light weapons control.
The hearing, organised by the House Committee on Protocol, Agreement and Treaties, is on domesticating the ECOWAS convention.
Chijioke Okoro, the director-general of the national task force of IMAN, said the association is in the best position to assist the government to eradicate importation of arms.
He noted that the organisation has the capacity to work with the government in gathering intelligence on importers involved in the illicit act.
“We synergize with security agencies in providing information on such importation or where consignment have left the ports and border posts even on transit, we share information with security agencies which leads to arrest, seizure and prosecution of offenders,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Kunle Osisanya, an assistant controller-general in charge of armoury, said the NIS is currently marking and tracing all arms in charge of the NIS.
“The tracing of arms, marking arms and border control, the NIS has commenced the marking of arms, the ones in headquarters and FCT are completely marked. Those in commands, we are on it. In the next few weeks, will get to it.”
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons remains a major challenge across the country. Last week, the Nigerian Navy blamed neighbouring countries for the proliferation of arms in Nigeria and called for strong measures against those countries.
Currently, there are two bills on the creation of a body to regulate small arms in the House.
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Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari transmitted a bill to the National Assembly, seeking to convert the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons into National Centre for Control of Small Arms under the Office of the National Security Adviser.
There is another bill to establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light weapons by the Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno).
Mr Monguno’s bill was introduced in 2019 and a public hearing was conducted on the bill last week.
In April, a former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, said there were over six million small arms and weapons in the country