THE recent discovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition including 150 AK47 rifles by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), Niger State Command, in Kulobe community in Niger State is most frightening, unsettling and raises a lot of questions about public safety and growing concern of illicit arms influx into the country. Most worrisome is the recovery of a rocket launcher, an anti-aircraft rifle, 3,000 assorted ammunitions from the private residence of the principal suspect who was monitoring the operatives coming to his house before bolting away.
APART from Kulobe, there had been a steady and alarming influx of illicit firearms into the country fuelling terrorism particularly in the Northern part of the country. In the second quarter of this year alone, over 5,000 assorted ammunitions were reportedly recovered from non state actors across the country.
THE influx of illegal weapons had been a major worry for past and present administrations due to the porosity of the country’s vast borders. Also fingered among others as another major drivers of arms proliferation into the country are cultism, militia activism, banditry, corruption, and the incapacity of intelligence agencies to detect and interrupt arms flow into the country by unscrupulous and unpatriotic citizens.The Kulobe discovery is a strong red flag signal that some yet to be identified Nigerians may be preparing for a jihad in the country.
THE HOPE has no information that such a dangerous venture is in the offing but the acquisition of a rocket launcher by private citizens in a religiously volatile environment like Niger State where armed forces personnel had been violently assaulted and killed portends vulnerability to war. Beyond the Niger and other troubled states, hate and violence increase per second leaving scores of dead bodies on the trail without any tangible solution in sight.
IT has been reported that a large chunk of illicit arms in the country are traceable to war troubled countries like Mali, Chad and Niger Republics, now exacerbated by the Russia/Ukralian war conflict. A forensic inquiry must be conducted on the arms recovered in Kulobe to identify their source and intention of the war mongers, some of whom are now at large. We believe there is something sinister in the arms pile up in Kulobe and other illicit depots in the country and only discreet and comprehensive investigations can unveil. We are in the midst of a war situation even though we are not at war.
THE spike in banditry and kidnapping noticeable now in the country which went down shortly after the inauguration of the Tinubu administration might be traced to the new surge in arms smuggling into the country. All efforts must be taken to crush the new wave of insurgency sweeping across the country if peace is to reign. We commend men of the DSS for their gallantry and patriotism in detecting the Kulobe illicit arms depot and enjoin other security agencies to follow suit and smoke them out of their hideouts before they plunge the country into another civil war.
A combined military, DSS and police intelligence efforts are urgently needed to unmask unlicensed importers of illicit weapons into the country and more importantly those sponsoring terrorism in our land.
THE Tinubu administration should follow up with the promise made by his predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari to make public the sponsors of terrorism and merchants of death in the country.
THE growing menace and upsurge of terrorism and mayhem constitute a strong disincentive to investors who may wish to invest in the country under a new and visionary leadership of Tinubu. The new helmsmen in the armed forces must cut off arms and ammunition supply to bandits across the country. Arms and ammunition are the oxygen with which terrorism survives and their inflow into our country must be cut off quickly to save innocent Nigerians the mental agonies and unwarranted orgy of killings in the country.
WE appeal to the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to our border porosity from where illicit arms and ammunition are ferried effortlessly into the country, particularly from war torn countries. It is a common practice for small arms and other conventional weaponry to proliferate as a result of state action. Even rebels fighting their governments typically acquire their weapons of terror through illicit weapons proliferation.
THE HOPE suggests citizenship support for government’s effort to curb arms infiltration into the country through monetary inducement for whistle blowers. With little financial inducement, people can be mobilized and encouraged to inform the DSS those in possession of dangerous weapons.