The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM) has carried out a symbolic destruction of about 700 weapons recovered from cattle rustlers in Katsina State. Speaking at the arms destruction programme which held at the 35 Battalion, Nacinta Barracks, Katsina, on Monday, PRESCOM’s Chairman, Amb. Emmanuel Imohe, noted that there were well over 690 million illicit arms and light weapons in circulation across the world with about eight million of them traceable to the West African sub-region.
The arms destruction programme was part of activities to mark the 2017 edition of the United Nations Arms Destruction Day. Quoting the International Action Network on SmallArms (IANSA), Imohe said that more than 500, 000 people lose their lives due to proliferation, noting that PRESCOM was working with global and local partners to check the trend of illegal arms and weapons proliferation in the Nigeria.
According to him, PRESCOM has dedicated 2017-2018 as ‘Disarmament/Arms destruction Year in collaboration with, state governments especially to conduct practical disarmament of and arms recovery in selected border communities across the country. As he put it, “the disarmament is being implemented in seven states of the country, including Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara in the North West and Cross River and Akwa Ibom stated in the South-South.
According to him, 700 assorted weapons including grenades, automatic as well as semi-automatic weapons were recovered from repentant cattle rustlers from across Katsina State. In his message, Governor Aminu Bello Masari described his government’s amnesty programme in as being in its infancy stage adding that the project has been a veritable tool designed to reduce crime in the area.
According to Masari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the State (SGS), Mustapha Inuwa, “world leaders should ensure strict regulation of small arms and light weapons trade and support developing nations in combating the scourge of illicit arms and light weapons proliferation, insurgencies, ethnic conflicts and religious intolerance.”