5 million Arms In Hands Of Terrorists, Militants In Nigeria
A report by a lecturer at the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), Dr Abdul-Ganiyu Abdus-Salam, has ranked Nigeria third on the list of countries with highest gun deaths and injuries globally after the United States and South Africa.
It estimated that about five million small arms and light weapons are in the hands of terrorists, militants and armed robbers in the country illegally.
Abdus-Salam, who teaches at the Department of Arts and Social Science Education, UNIABUJA, stated this yesterday during his lecture at a Peace Conference organised by the United Nigerian Chaplaincy (UNC) with a theme titled, “Small arms and light weapons and the Nigerian youth: A cog in the wheel of our national development”.
He said that private dealers deliberately violate arms sales laws and policies as against source, transit or recipient country for commercial gains.
He said, “It is flabbergasting to discover that youths consume unconventional substances like adhesive solutions, lizard excreta, sniffing pit latrines, abusing cough syrups, inhaling petrol from jerry cans, and drinking goskolo – mostly in Plateau State – which is said to be more dangerous than Ogogoro and Burukutu drinks.”
He attributed these trends to growing poverty level among youths, unemployment, secularism and exclusion of religion and environmental degradation which triggers agitation among these youths as seen in the Niger Delta region.
Abdus-Salam said, “Youths should leave arms and substance abuse for jobs that will benefit them and Nigeria. And our political leaders should also evolve ideas that would bring jobs rather than arming these youths to win elections and later leave them idle.
“The government should invite youths who have these arms and buy them at an exorbitant price and destroy them, so that the youths will invest the money in other beneficial ventures. It is very difficult now to control arms proliferation.
“There must be a total deviation from the past approach and this new paramilitary organisation seems to have the right approach. Arms and weapons do not resolve conflicts but the UNC wants to use religion to appeal to the sensibility of Nigerians and create harmony.”
Meanwhile, the UNC North zonal commander, Ezekiel Joshua, said the corps organised the conference to enlighten community members on the significance of peaceful coexistence.
“Peace is what is needed by everybody to survive as even the wicked man needs an atmosphere of peace to plan his wickedness. We want people to see how the weapons circulating in the country come in and how to protect themselves.”
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