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Nigerian Govt Kicks NATFORCE Out, Brings In NATCOM

...A welcome development - group

The Nigerian Government has disbanded the National Task Force on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NATFORCE), and replaced it with NATCOM, a youth organization that has commended the government over the step because of the abundant benefits therein.

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, announced the disbandment Thursday while briefing State House correspondents after the National Security Council meeting in Abuja.

The disbanded NATFORCE has been replaced with National Commission (NATCOM)!

Recall that earlier, the National Assembly had passed the NATCOM Bill as part of the ECOWAS Treaty on Small Arms Ammunition and Chemical Weapons. The new bill NATCOM, which was passed by the National Assembly is headed by the DG Dr. Baba Mohammed, hence disbandment of NATFORCE as it is NATCOM now.

Meanwhile, welcoming the development and describing it as a right step towards the right direction, the Arewa Youth Civil Society Network has commended the National Assembly for the passage of the Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 283); The Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 513); and The National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 794).

Against this background, the youth, therefore, called on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to promptly sign the bills into law considering the importance and the over increasing population of Nigeria.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the group, Coordinator, Zakari Hashim described the passage of these important bills as overwhelming hence the urgent need for assent by Mr President to make them become laws.

The excited Zakari Hashim praised the leadership Qualities of the Director General of NATCOM Dr. Baba Mohammed for reviving the agency and making it fully back to life with the new development of the pronounced disbandment of NATFORCE by the Federal Government.

Speaking further, Hashim added, “you will agree with us that, the population of Nigeria which is increasing on a daily basis needs an upward review in terms of manpower of the country’s security agents,” pointing out that no iota of doubt that the current manpower Nigeria security sector embodies is overstretched.

He regretted that, a country with over 200 million population having not up to 1.5 million security personnel calls for alacrity reflection.

“Due to this overwhelmed population and inadequate manpower, this has aided free and easy proliferation of light and non-light weapons across the country and the most worrisome part of this time bomb is the nonavailability of any agency that is saddled with the responsibility of checkmating this menace that has suddenly turned to a cankerworm.

The Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020(SB. 283); The Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 513); and The National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 794).

The three bills seek to provide for the establishment of a government body that will be saddled with combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

The functions of the body shall be in line with Article 24 of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons which came into force in 2009.

“We are happy that with the disbandment of the NATFORCE by the national security council brief by the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Arebesola, will automatically birth a new light and signage of the NATCOM bill receiving attention before Mr.President, we commend the leadership of the national assembly for the momentum and timely passage of the bill in order to arrest the current security situation in the country.

“The proposed legal framework to establish the Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM) under the leadership of Dr. Baba Mohammad, if signed into law will create over 270,000 jobs for unemployed Nigerian youth and will address the shortfall of security agencies and strengthen internal security to ensure illegal importation of weapons by disgruntled elements in the northern Nigerian and the country at large.

“We, therefore call on all stakeholders to keep foresight and be vigilant to curtail this time bomb,” the association appealed.

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