by Arikawe Femi
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By: People’s Voice Nigeria | News


The main hall of the Civic Centre in Lagos was a beehive of activities as stakeholders, experts, security practitioners and the general public gathered to proffer solutions to an age long challenge of proliferation of small arms and light weapons.


The event was the 2023 edition of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers’ (NAOSNP) National Security Conference with the theme Uptick of Lethal Weapons As a Threat: Arm-full, Harm-full in New Dispensation under the chairmanship of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) IGP Solomon Arase (Retd).

The cynosure of the high profile event was the showcasing of a panel session of highly rated society security professionals comprising the Acting Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI) Lt. Col AY Ngulde; Assistant Controller General, Federal Fire Service, Zone F, South West, Chika Njoku; Force Publice Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Commandant, Lagos State Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ahmed Alfadarai; Director, Public Affairs, West African Examination Council (WAEC) National Office, Ms Moyosola Adesina; Managing Director, Safety Signatures, Dr. Cynthia Gregg; Head of Enforcement, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Kayode Odunuga, and Head of Security, Leadway Assurance, Mr Ufot.


Moderating the panel discussions, the Editor of the Boss Newspaper and Public Relations Officer of NAOSNP, Mr. Eric Elezuo, took the discussants on a round robin journey of proffering assessment of the security situation of the country, with special emphasis on the proliferation and use of light weapons in the perpetuation of crimes and criminality by non state actors.

Lt. Col. Ngulde, who set the ball rolling identified non cooperation from the members of the public to enhance the security agencies’ efforts in ending criminality occasioned by prevalent of illegal weapons in the public space. He called on the public, especially the media to rise to the occasion, join hands with the security agencies, who are already on top of their game, to curb the menace.

In his remarks, Commandant Alfadarai lauded the efforts of NAOSNP in leading the way to ending insecurity. He enumerated the achievements of his agency in arresting the activities of the criminals as it regards the protection of national assets and infrastructure.

Security expert, Cynthia Gregg, identified the inordinate ambition of certain individuals to intimidate and dominate their fellow man as one of the reasons for the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Nigerian Civil space, thereby resulting in insecurity and unsafe habitation.


She also advised the security agencies to up their games in manning the borders, which according to her, have become so porous that anything and anyone can go in and out with little or no restrictions.


In his assessment, Adejobi, who stood in for the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun as the special guest of honour, went down memory lane to expose the activities of the members of the underworld. He called on diverse security operators to harness their energies as one indivisible unit to fight the scourge. He frowned at the idea of the agencies acting without synergy, noting that criminals are attacking and killing everyone irrespective of the agency they belong to, using the recent Imo attack as a case study where soldiers, policemen and NSCDC officials were slaughtered.


Adejobi also called on residents and community leaders to be vigilant in the area of security stating that individuals can arrest offenders where necessary, according to the Criminal Code, in section 12. He warned however, that arresting offenders by civilians should be with discretion since they don’t bear arms, and that mobbing and beating up of suspects is not part of ‘arresting’.


He added that anyone, who wishes to possess fire arms must have them licenced by the appropriate authority. “The law empowers military personnel, and law enforcement agencies to carry arms. It’s however frightening to see many individuals possessing firearms without being licensed by the authority.


“In Nigeria, everybody wants to posses firearm for one reason or the other which is the basis of the current problem we have now,” he said.


He further informed that dane guns, as used by hunters in villages across the country, ought to be licensed, but because they are seen as part of culture, law agencies do not arrest the owners, stressing that such guns still need to be licensed.


Adejobi raised the alarm, saying that most light weapons are not imported, but fabricated within the Nigerian space by locals just as unfavorable landscape has remained a prohibiting factor in tracking offenders, most of whom domicile in the interior parts of the communities.

Speaking from the perspective of conducting exams, Ms Adesina, recounted how exams, which involves five West African countries could have been stalled by activities of criminal elements in whose hands light weapons and arms are rested. She lamented that the activities of criminals place extra task of re-setting exams each time they attack men and materials of the exam body.


In his contribution, LASTMA’s Odunuga lamented that the spread of light arms is the reason behind ‘one chance’ incidents frequently experienced on the highway.  He advised commuters to always board their bases at the right garages and bus stops where a certain element of security is guaranteed.


All the panel members agreed that the issue the curbing of proliferation of arms and light weapons is a collective responsibility involving all the security agencies, the media and the general public. They concluded that everyone should operate on the policy of ‘see something, say something’.

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