Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, Tuesday in Abuja held a close-door meeting with heads of internal security agencies.
He said the meeting was a follow up to a meeting with state governors two weeks ago over the violent conflicts between farmers and herders in Benue and other places.
“One of the issues that came up in the communiqué was the issue of the proliferation of small arms and drug trafficking and abuse.
“We also found out that these two issues are triggers to the violence taking place in this country.
“Without the firearms and drugs, those who partake in violence would not have the courage to carry out the kind of violence taking place in this country,” he said.
“As a follow up, I called for this meeting so that we can examine and analyse the situation to see how best we can deal with the situation”, NAN quoted him as saying.
Quoting the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament, Dambazau noted that there were approximately 500 million assorted firearms in West Africa and out of this figure, 350 million (representing 70 per cent) are in Nigeria.
He said a large consignment of weapons had been smuggled from North Africa (in particular Libya) as a consequence of the crises in that country.
“The situation is worsened by the insurgency in the North-east because of the supply of weapons to the insurgents and terrorists there.
“Likewise the supply of weapon to the militants in the Niger Delta through exchange of stolen crude oil and supply by politicians to deal with their opponents.
“It is very necessary for us to secure our country and of course a more challenging aspect of that which facilitate the smuggling of weapons, is our porous borders and this is a major challenge to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigeria Custom Service in particular.” he said.
The minister further inisisted said the farmers and herders’ conflicts, kidnappings, ethno-religious crises, terrorism, armed robbery, cultism and militancy all had something to do with weapons and drugs.
The meeting had in attendance representatives of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Directorate of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).