Worried by the increase cases of proliferation of arms in Nigeria and other neighboring communities, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has moved to train stakeholders and sensitise border communities on the need to tackle this challenge.Speaking at a workshop organised by the UNDP and the Presidential Committee On Small Arms and Light Weapons, (PRESCOM) on the proposed UNDP intervention on combating arms proliferation in Nigeria, UNDP Regional coordinator for small arms and light weapons, Frederick Ampiah, said “This meeting is focused at offering solutions and bringing up ideas on how to stop the proliferation of small and light weapons.
“We have the objective of building the capacities of security agencies along the border communities and also wish to build the capacity of not just the security agencies but Non-Governmental Organizations working in these areas.
“We specifically focused on Yobe and also border communities between Nigeria and Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
“At the end of the day, what to expect to get out of the workshop is well informed communities across these borders, and who will be able to assist in tackling the proliferation and trafficking of small arms, strengthen institutions to be able to tackle these challenges.
Also, representative of PRESCOM chairman, Dickson Orji said “one of the major challenges of security agencies is the ability to understand the dynamics of criminality. Criminals try to stay ahead of security operatives.
“This workshop is for bringing together security agencies to find out the roots and causes of infiltration of small arms in Nigeria and how it can be combatted.
This workshop is basically looking at ways of training and increasing the capacity of the security agencies in combating these crimes of infiltration of small arms and other dangerous weapons.
On the reoccurring issues of kidnapping along Abuja-Kaduna express way, he said PRESCOM is bothered especially as small arms and ammunition are been employed to perpetuate these crimes.
According to him, “we are bothered because we know that the primary choice or weapons of those perpetuating this crime is small and light weapons. Without these weapons in their possession, you and I can tackle them when confronted on the road.
“What we saw on the news two or three days ago marvelled us at the rate of recklessness and rascality these young men operated and went about kidnapping people. We are really worried and these is why we are trying to train the capacity of the security agencies to tackle these challenges.”
On how to assist the police and other security agencies, Orji said ” Since 2013, PRESCOM has trained over 500 security agents drowned from different agencies on maritime , border management both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria because we have this partnership with the Kofi Annan national peace keeping centre. You know because Nigeria is a big place, sometimes you look like what you have done is not enough but we are doing a lot.”
On creating awareness for these problems, he said “on the issue of awareness, we have our priorities and the issue of awareness and sensitization naturally one of them. In fact, it is number four on our priority list because we know that lack of information is why some youths are involved in the problem.
”We have actually organised over 20 sensitization programs across the six geopolitical zones and before the 2015 election, we actually carried out this kind of awareness. The youth is very key and we are targeting them.”
Further noted that the discussions between the leadership of the security agencies and the united and the undp at a higher level while this particular section is for technical discussions and that’s why the response the officers were nominated to come for the functions are called for enabling laws that would help in tackling the notification of arms and light weapons.