By Joel Ajayi
As Nigeria joined the rest of the world in the campaign and creating of awareness on Small Arms and Light Weapons, SALW, Civil Society Organization, CSO, known as ‘Waansa Nigeria’ has called on all Nigerians especially, security agencies, Media to leave no stone unturned to end the menace in the country.
President of the Organization in Nigeria, Mr Jephthah Asimole, made this call on Monday in Abuja when he led his members to the Head office of Aljazirah Newspapers Nigeria to pay a courtesy visit to the Publisher, Mr. Bassey Etuk.
The group also thanked the Publisher of Aljazirah Newspapers Nigeria Mr. Bassey Etuk for his unflinching support always accords to Civil Society Group.
According to him, Nigeria is awash with illicit weapons, which have found its way into unauthorized hands-on non-state actors that are threatening the existence of the country, as well lives and properties of the people.
“We call it small arms but it’s now the biggest problem in the country. The illicit proliferation of SALW has had a dramatic impact on peace and security in Africa, threatening not only the existence of the state but also the livelihoods of millions of people across the continent.”
Azimole, however, called for collaborative efforts with relevant agencies, the Nigerian Media, market women and others join the forces together to fight Proliferation of arm that is threatening the peace, growth, and development of Nigeria.
While Suggesting the solution to end the menace in Nigeria, the Wasaana Nigeria President, opined that an important element of addressing insecurity and violence in Nigeria is to strengthen national police force to ensure the rule of law and to prevent and respond to violence. Armed violence remains a common problem in Nigeria.
Also, another tool is to create awareness and a lot of advocacy that is why we are moving from one media houses to another to create more awareness. And I must commend the Aljazirah publisher for the support
“We have to write many media house time without number before having access to them but for Aljazirah all we just need to be here was a phone call and we need to commend you for that.”
“Also, a proper account of the mopped up ammunition recovered must be given, we are coming from Police Head office now and they said they are doing mop up of arms but who know numbers of ammunition recover, that is why we appeal to them to ensure those ammunitions did not go back to society.”
In his response, the CEO of Aljazirah Newspapers, Mr. Etuk Bassey who was represented by Editor, Mr. George Emine thanked the group for recognizing the Aljazirah Nigeria Newspapers.
According to him, Small Arms and Light Weapons remain the biggest challenge in Nigeria and as I speak today, many of our colleagues cannot go to their state due to crisis for the fear of they may be killed, nowhere is safe, the way things are going we are not sure if we are going to have Nigeria of our dream.
“I want to assure you that on our own part, we will do our best to through creating awareness, proper advocacy to end the scourge in Nigeria.”
Earlier in his address, a member of the group, Mr. Igwe Martin, explained that United Nations had set up 7thto 14th of every May as a date to create more awareness as this year’s SALW tagged “End The crisis Of Gun Violence now.”
However, the recent statistic by United Nation UN revealed that the illicit proliferation of SALW in the country showed out 500 million of such weapons circulating in the West African sub-region, Nigeria’s holds an unnerving 70%. By interpretative extension, there are about 350 million illegal arms in the country.