President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a National Centre which will replace the defunct Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, SALW.
In a statement on Monday in Abuja, the Head, Strategic Communication, ONSA, Mr Zakari Usman, named the establishment as the National Centre Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) which shall be domiciled at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Usman added that centre would serve as an institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research, and monitoring of all aspects of SALW in Nigeria.
He said the decision was part of the ongoing restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture to address emerging threats and strengthen the regional mechanism for the control, prevention, and regulation of SALW.
According to him, the impact of the proliferation of SALW across national borders in Africa and the Sahel region has resulted in terrorism, human trafficking, organised crime, and insurrections in West Africa and Nigeria.
“Therefore, as one of the measures in tackling this threat, the new Centre will be fulfilling the requirements of the ECOWAS Moratorium on Import, Export, and Manufacture of Light Weapons as well as the UN Plan of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW.
“The NCCSALW will serve as the National Focal Point on SALW in Nigeria and lead a multi-stakeholder process involving government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and the civil societies in implementing all national, UN and ECOWAS Plans of Action on the control of SALW.
“The Centre will maintain international cooperation and also operate zonal offices in the six geopolitical zones to ensure quick response and effective mobilisation of resources,” he said.
Usman also disclosed that Buhari had appointed retired Maj.Gen. AM Dikko as Pioneer Coordinator of the centre.
He said that Dikko had served in various capacities in and outside Nigeria.
“He was a Course Director at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre and Chief `Instructor of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre.
“He was also a Military Adviser, United Nations Office for West Africa, Director Peacekeeping Operations Defence Headquarters, Commander Operations LAST HOLD as well as Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, to mention a few.
“The pioneer coordinator has vast experience working with the ECOWAS and the UN system and is expected to operationalise the objectives of the NCCSALW,” he said.