Nigeria, according to Baba Mohammed, the acting Director-General of the National Taskforce, must domesticate ECOWAS treaties and conventions due to the worrisome spread of armaments and munitions into the country.
In an interview with reporters after the House Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements public hearing on a “bill for Act to enable the Federal Republic of Nigeria to give effect to the ECOWAS convention on small arms and light weapons, ammunition, and other related matters,” Mohammed was represented by Alhaji Mustaba Abdullahi, Director of Katsina State Command.
According to the acting DG, Nigeria is the largest recipient of illegal armaments, and NATFORCE’s role is to collaborate with other security agencies to combat proliferation.
He said his organization will support the bill because of the urgent need to combat illegal guns imports, which he claims has increased criminality in the country, and because he believes that domesticating the treaties will provide the country more power in dealing with arms smugglers.
On behalf of the DG, Alhaji Abdullahi said that he is also a member of Natforce’s governing board, which is tasked with countering illegal guns, small and light weapons, and ammunition.
Given the cooperation of the security agencies and paramilitary organizations, he expressed optimism that the bill will become law.
“So far, the conclusion of this public hearing consists of stakeholders from the industry who are currently participating in the organization and have expressed their support to the bill,” he said.
“This is a significant step forward in bringing the law to fruition. Of course, everyone wants his name engraved in gold, and what we’re witnessing now is that everyone wants their names engraved in history, which has resulted in what you’re seeing now.
“Today, this bill is Nigeria’s ECOWAS resident home, and with the spread of illegal weapons in Africa, Nigeria must act quickly.
“ECOWAS, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, made a wise decision to establish an agency in the ECOWAS States to combat proliferation and the importation of light, small, chemical, and other weapons and ammunition.”
Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, Chairman of the Committee, promised that the report would be submitted to the Committee of the Whole in record time, allowing legislative activities on the bill to proceed.