By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Federal Government has directed the immediate dismantling of all illegal security outfits and warned against the use of these outfits to extort, harass and intimidate Nigerians.
Speaking through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the government cautioned individuals, organizations and foreign partners on the activities of NATFORCE which was illegally formed as a taskforce to combat illegal importation and smuggling of small arms, ammunitions and light weapons into Nigeria.
A press release signed by Z. M. Usman, Head, Strategic Communication, ONSA, said that the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser is the national co-ordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
He said: “One of such groups is NATFORCE which seeks to combat illegal importation of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism and has been involved in mounting of illegal roadblocks, conducting illegal searches, seizures and recruitment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the general public and all stakeholders are to note that NATFORCE is an illegal outfit without any mandate or authority to carry out these functions. This trend is unacceptable and the promoters of NATFORCE are warned to dismantle their structures and operations immediately
“Following the setting up of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons on 3 May 2021, Nigeria has initiated the process for the full implementation of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on small arms and light weapons.
“In this regard, national and international stakeholders are encouraged and expected to work closely with the Centre to strengthen Government-Civil Society initiatives.”