The National Security Council (NSC) has declared the National Task Force on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical and Pipeline Vandalism (NATFORCE), illegal.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration Thursday, while briefing State House reporters alongside his Police Affairs counterpart, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi, after the NSC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
TheFact Daily gathers that the upper legislative chamber had, in July, passed into law a bill establishing the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, with NATFORCE being one of its components. The House of Representatives is expected to pass its version of the law upon resumption from recess later in September 2022.
However, security experts have rejected the Senate’s inclusion of NATFORCE in the new Act, urging the lawmakers to expunge it from the bill when harmonizing both versions.
Aregbesola explained that the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons currently domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser and headed by Maj-Gen. A. M Dikko (retd), is the only national coordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, and expressed satisfaction with the performance of security agencies in the fight against insecurity.
He therefore urged those behind the creation of NATFORCE to disband the “illegal” outfit or be forced to do so by security agencies, adding that the administration hopes to end security challenges by December this year.
“The Council has just concluded today’s meeting. It received briefings from all security chiefs and the Council is very satisfied with the performances of all our security chiefs; the military, the police and other security agencies. We are happy with their performance and the gains recorded so far.
“We are moving to the phase of consolidation of all those gains, such that by December, as ordered by the Chairman of the Council, the President, which he has said to all Nigerians before now, that we’ll put, essentially, most of the challenges of banditry particularly, insurgency, kidnapping for ransom, criminalities of that nature, far behind us.
“Equally of concern is the presence of some illegal outfits that impersonate the legitimate security agencies. Of particular concern is a body called National Task Force on Illegal Importation of Goods, Small Arms and what have you, but the short name for it is NATFORCE.
“The Council declares that body an illegal organization, it should just simply disband itself, because the Council has ordered all security agencies to enforce the disbandment of that body and other such bodies that operate illegally without any force of law,” he said.