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Stakeholders back bill against proliferation of weapons in Nigeria as NSA, Customs differ

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Stakeholders on Thursday spoke with one voice in support of a bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the National Centre for the coordination and control of the proliferation of small and light weapons in Nigeria.
This followed presentation of memoranda at a one-day public hearing of the Senate committtee on National Security and intelligence held in Abuja.
However, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Nigeria Customs Service however differed on the proposed legislation.
Declaring the session open, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan linked challenges associated with small and light weapons to crises in the Sahel.
Lawan, who spoke through Senate Deputy minority leader, Senator Shuaibu Lau stressed that the proliferation of weapons has triggered dangerous act of terrorism, adding “we are bound to reflect through relevant institutions”.
Consequently, Lawan noted this has precipitated the gathering of stakeholders on National Security and intelligence.
He noted that the essence of the Institutions is to control the menace of terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry among others.
The Director Legal services of the National Centre for the control of small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), Chioma Onuegbu reiterated that proliferation of weapons pose a threat to peace and security.
She added that there was no better time to pass the bill than now.
Head of ECOWAS National office at the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Yakubu Dadu, said “we are in support of the bill”.
According to him, the bill is link to ECOWAS convention, pointing out that it is only Nigeria that has not establish centre to curb proliferation of small and light weapons in the sub region.
“ECOWAS is looking up to Nigeria, we have suffered from consequences of small and light arms proliferation”.
But the Nigeria Customs Service, represented by Usman Dakingari, Assistant Controller General of Customs was of the view that “if you block the land borders you will apprehend the culprits”.
He also called for the establishment of National Data base for weapons, saying Nigeria Customs is ready to synergize with other security agencies to curb the menace.
Similarly, the office of the National Security Adviser also kicked against the bill saying “the centre should be domicile at the office of NSA, if transferred into commission, it will be made up of pure civilian”.
However, the Director General of Coalition of Nigeria Youths, Ambassador Ade Emmanuel supported the bill, however emphasised that politics should be avoided during the consideration of the bill.
A member of the committee, Senator Francis Fadahunsi (Osun East) punctured the submission of the Office of the NSA.
“The NSA is yet to do it’s work, this bill started during President Olusegun Obasanjo when we called forensic into the Army, Police, we discovered 178,000 arms and ammunition lost to the criminals”.
Corroborating, Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central) noted “ECOWAS said we should establish a commission through convention, the office of the NSA cannot audit itself, you are supposed to be umbrella supervising all security agencies” he emphasised.
In a separate submission, the Director General of National Taskforce Prohibition of Illegal, Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism, Dr. Baba Mohammed backed the establishment of the commission.
He cited Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote’divoire, Guinea as countries who have established the Commission to stop killings, kidnappings, banditry.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) noted that the committtee will collate all the presentations and do the needful.
“We will come out with a decision that everybody will be Happy.
“Ours is to make sure Insecurity become a thing of the past in Nigeria” he added.

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HIV service delivery: SFH trains security agents on human rights, inclusion, diversity

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The Society for Family Health(SFH) has expressed its appreciation to law enforcement agencies in the country for their commitment to the partnership with the organization.

The Managing Director, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho gave the indication in a goodwill message at a 3-day training workshop organized by SFH for the law enforcement officers held at Chatwell Hotel on Monday in Bauchi.

The sensitization workshop focused on general health issues, gender diversity and human rights as they relates to the survival of the key populations.

The MD who was represented by Chief of Party, KP-CARE2 Project of the SFH, Mallam Abdulsamad Salihu said law enforcement agencies have shown serious commitment to their partnership with his organization.

He disclosed that the officers have been part and parcel of the organization’s activities over the years especially as it relates to public health programming, HIV and AIDS service implementation and extraordinary general security provisions.

He said, “It is with no doubt that our gallant law enforcement personnel have been through considerable tests of their resolve by the significant increase in criminal activities in the country, especially because of the challenges with poverty, inflation, banditry and insurgency

In his words, “We also know that over 200 million Nigerians rely on the law enforcement agencies for their security and livelihoods, many of which are also supported by SFH.”

In his address, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, CP Auwal Mohammed Musa disclosed that gender inequality is not a new concept but that their pervasiveness has brought them to international focus.

He pointed out that the police force as an institution is a major stakeholder in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, guided by its mandate to maintaining peace and uphold fundamental rights to freedom.

The police boss further explained that every individual deserves safety and respect, but that the scourge of rape and defilement are curbed, and that women and girl child and boys can live their lives free from fear, intimidation and harassment.

He expressed the hope that the training program would facilitate a smooth police service delivery and improve the areas of gender sensitivity in the Force.

In his speech, the Zonal Commander of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Zone B, Idris Mohammed Bello thanked the Society for Family Health for its commitment to confronting the HIV menace over the years and the benefits therein.

The NDLEA boss expressed the belief that participants will leave the training better equipped to stem the problem due to the increased knowledge they will acquire from the training.

Bello also explained that it was the second time he would be attending the Society for Family Health sensitization training for officers with his strong belief that the participants will live with the takeaway and even impact the knowledge on others.

Other agencies in attendance at the training included the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Hisbah Corps, representatives of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC), heads of State AIDS Control Agencies(SACAs) and representations from KP-led Community-Based Organizations(CBOs) among others.

The training attracted officers from the North West and North East regions comprising Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and host Bauchi states.

About 40,000 vulnerable individuals received care from the project with support from the United States Agency for International (USAID) and the Nigerian government.

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DSS alerts Nigerians against potential threats at crowded gatherings

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To avoid “potential threats” that may result from Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) in crowded places or suspicious locations, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Friday, cautioned Nigerians across the country to stay away.

The DSS in its message to both Christian and Muslim faithful to felicitate with them at their Lenten and upcoming Ramadan seasons respectively, said the advice became imperative in order to live in a peaceful environment.

The spokesman of the secret police, Peter Afunanya also cautioned clerics from both religions, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations.

“Residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” Afunanya said, stressing that the service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace.

“Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.”

According to him, the DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites, that is why it enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

The secret police spokesman said, “Accordingly, the Management extends its heartfelt felicitations for peace, unity and harmony to adherents of these faiths. The DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites and enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

“It appeals to stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations. This is more so that illegal practices such as price gouging or unethical marketing tactics are ungodly; violate fairness and can undermine the true essence of the holy events.

“As believers, it is incumbent upon us to uphold good standards and ensure that everyone can observe the religious duties with ease and dignity. Furthermore, the Service encourages clerics and religious leaders to uphold empathy as well as prioritise cooperation and conflict prevention beyond the periods under reference.

“Similarly, the media is encouraged to utilise their platforms to foster informed and accurate engagements that (can) enhance the achievement of national security objectives and interests.

“Likewise, residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.

“In the same vein, the Service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace. Overall, the Service recommits to provision of strategic intelligence to other sister agencies in order to achieve a safe and secure country.

“As we undertake these spiritual journeys in the Lenten and Ramadan periods, let us remember to love and share the values that unite us. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the values of mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, being our brother’s keepers among others and by these, advance more inclusive and equitable society for us all.”

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Clamour for State Police gains traction at security conference

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Solomon Arase
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***As Arase recommends citizens’ engagement

***Wike expresses confidence that efforts against insecurity in FCT is yielding results

The chairman Police Service commission Dr. Solomon Arase on Thursday recommended citizens’ engagement in the fight against criminality through a multi-faceted approach that involves building trust, empowering citizens and fostering a sense of shared responsibility for public safety.
Arase’s recommendation was made in a paper titled: “Strenghtening Security: Engaging Citizens in Nigeria’s fight against crime and criminality” which he presented at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)/New Star Newspaper organised National Security Comference on Thursday, at the NAF Conference Center, Abuja

proffered a lasting solution to the heightened security challenges in the country that has almost defied all possible solution,
“By implementing initiatives such as community policing forums, crime reporting apps, and neighborhood watch programs, communities can work together with law enforcement to prevent crime and create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.
There are several initiatives that can be implemented to engage the citizenry in crime fighting, including Community Policing Fora therough Establishment of community policing fora where citizens can meet with law enforcement officials to discuss crime trends, share information, and collaborate on crime prevention strategies.
Accoeding to him, the fora can help build trust and cooperation between the community and law enforcement and empower citizens to take an active role in crime prevention.
Another initiatives Crime Reporting Apps is in developing mobile applications that allow citizens to report crimes anonymously and securely. “These apps can provide a platform for citizens to share information about suspicious activities, crimes, and other concerns with law enforcement, helping to improve response times and reduce crime rates.

Neighborhood Watch Programs he said encourage citizens to form neighborhood watch programs to monitor and report suspicious activities in their communities.
He said, the programs can help deter criminals and provide an extra layer of security for residents.
Explaining further he indicated that Education and Awareness Campaigns is crucial to inform citizens about crime prevention strategies, importance of reporting crimes, and how to stay safe.
“These campaigns can be conducted through community meetings, social media, and other channels.

“Establishing volunteer programs that allow citizens to contribute to crime prevention efforts. Volunteers can assist law enforcement with tasks such as patrolling neighborhoods, conducting safety audits, and organizing community events.
“Organizing citizen patrols where trained volunteers patrol neighborhoods and report suspicious activities to law enforcement. These patrols can help deter criminal behavior and provide a visible presence in the community.
He canvassed for engaging young people in crime prevention efforts through initiatives such as youth mentorship programs, after-school activities, and community service projects. “These programs can help keep young people engaged and provide them with positive outlets for their energy and creativity.
Other solutions he said should include establishing victim support services that provide counseling, legal assistance, and other support to crime victims and their families.
“These services can help victims recover from the trauma of crime and provide them with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
He reiterated the need to encourag citizens to participate in civic activities such as town hall meetings, community cleanups, and local government initiatives.
“This can help foster a sense of community and collective responsibility for crime prevention.
“Forming partnerships between law enforcement, businesses, and community organizations to develop and implement crime prevention strategies can leverage resources and expertise from multiple sectors to address crime more effectively.
The former inspector General of police said the fight against crime in Nigeria is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including government agencies, law enforcement, community leaders, and individual citizens. While progress has been made in some areas, such as the establishment of specialized agencies and the implementation of targeted interventions, much work remains to be done to address the root causes of crime and create a safer and more secure environment for all Nigerians.

“One of the key lessons learned from the experiences of other countries is the importance of engaging the citizenry in crime prevention efforts.
“Initiatives such as community policing, neighborhood watch programs, and crime reporting apps can empower citizens to take an active role in keeping their communities safe.
“By building trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the community, these initiatives can help reduce crime rates and improve public safety.
He also canvassed for the underlying socioeconomic factors that contribute to crime are addressed for long-term success.
“This includes investing in education, job creation, and social support programs that provide individuals with alternatives to a life of crime. Strengthening governance and the rule of law, promoting transparency and accountability, and addressing corruption are also essential for creating an environment where crime cannot thrive.
“Finally, it is important to recognize that crime prevention is a shared responsibility that requires the collaboration of all stakeholders.
“This includes government agencies, law enforcement, community organizations, businesses, and individual citizens. By working together, we can create a safer and more secure Nigeria for future generations.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesome Wike in his welcome address acknowledged that over the past few months, the nation’s capital has faced its fair share of security challenges, as have many regions across our great nation.
Represented by the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry Dr. Shamsu Yahaya said, news, especially of kidnappings and the infamous “one chance” commercial car robberies made headline news.

“I am however pleased to report that through concerted efforts and the dedication of our security agencies, we have made significant strides in addressing these challenges.
“Our approach has been multifaceted, combining robust law enforcement measures with proactive community engagement initiatives.
“Furthermore, we have prioritized community-oriented policing approaches, fostering trust, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. By empowering local stakeholders and investing in grassroots initiatives, we have cultivated a culture of vigilance and resilience at the grassroots level.

“My tour of the six Area Councils has galvanized the populace and reassured them that they are not alone in this fight to safeguard their lives and property.
“Nevertheless, our work is far from over. As we gather here today, let us reaffirm our collective commitment to safeguarding our nation’s security and advancing our development agenda.

He concluded saying he would like all and sundry to leverage the insights shared during the conference to formulate robust policies, forge strategic partnerships, and mobilize resources toward a safer, more prosperous future for all Nigerians.

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