The Nigerian Navy, NN, has dissociated itself from revelations made by one of its senior officers with regards to the proliferation of arms in West Africa.
The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence yesterday, 27 September 2021 held a public hearing on 4 Bills, including the Bill for an Act to Establish the National Commission Against Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (HB 10).
TheFact Nigeria gathers that during the hearing on this Bill, the representative of the NN, duly presented the position of the Service on the proposed Act but went ahead to make some unauthorized, personal comments on the issue of trans-national trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
Commodore Jamila Sadiq Abubakar, an international maritime lawyer and the first female Commodore in the history of the Nigerian Navy, had, during the hearing, made a revelation deemed ‘shocking’ by the news media, when she said that Chadian soldiers, when broke, pawned guns for as cheap as $20-$30.
“They do not have armoury. So most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed.
“When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here, and I am saying it”, she said.
“I was in charge as a member of the fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically here, I stand to be corrected, that some of these countries that we have borders with have no armoury”, she further stated.
According to the disclaimer issued Tuesday, 28 September, by the Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, the naval officer’s comments, as it relates to neighbours with which Nigeria maintains robust diplomatic security relationships and collaborations, are a personal opinion and “is at variance with the position of the NN”.
The NN, while categorically dissociating itself from the view of the senior officer, “appreciates the indelible contributions of our regional partners/neighbours in the fight against small arms and light weapons trafficking.
“Pertinently, effective and sustained regional cooperation towards ensuring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is a key priority of the NN. Against this background, the Service acknowledges the regional security efforts of our neighbouring countries within the existing frameworks of bilateral and multilateral cooperations and commits to working assiduously to strengthening these arrangements”, the statement read.