The federal government has established the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) in a bid to curb the influx illegal arms into the country.
The head of strategic communication in the office of the national security adviser, Mr. Zachari Usman, who disclosed this in a statement, said the NCCSALW replaces the defunct presidential committee on small arms and light weapons.
He said the centre will serve as the institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
He said the decision to establish the centre was part of the federal government’s efforts to restructure the country’s security architecture and address “emerging threats and strengthen regional mechanism for the control, prevention and regulation of SALW.”
“The impact of the proliferation of SALW across national borders in Africa and the Sahel region has resulted in terrorism, human trafficking, organized crime, and insurrections in West Africa and Nigeria.
“Therefore, as one of the measures in tackling this threat, the new centre will be fulfilling the requirements of the ECOWAS Moratorium on Import, Export, and Manufacture of Light Weapons as well as the UN Plan of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW.
“The NCCSALW will serve as the National Focal Point on SALW in Nigeria and lead a multi-stakeholder process involving government ministries, departments, agencies and the civil society in implementing all national, UN and ECOWAS Plans of Action on the control of SALW.
“The centre will maintain international cooperation and also operate zonal offices in the Six Geopolitical Zones to ensure quick response and effective mobilization of resources,” he said.
Usman also stated that the centre would be headed by Maj. Gen. A.M. Dikko (rtd) as pioneer coordinator.
Dikko, he said, had served in various capacities in and outside Nigeria.
He was a course director at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre and chief instructor of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre.
He was also a military adviser, United Nation Office for West Africa, director peacekeeping operations, Defence Headquarters, Commander Operation Last Hold as well as Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole.