Another 1st: 70% of illegal weapons in West Africa are in Nigeria

by Adeniyi Abdul

If, for some reason Nigeria leaves the ongoing London 2012 Olympics with no medals, we can always take consolation in the fact we come out tops in illegal weapons productions in West Africa.

The Nigerian Army on Saturday stated that 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in circulation in West Africa are in Nigeria.

The Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir, revealed this in Abuja while delivering a paper titled, ‘The challenges of internal security and implications for national development’ at the 7th Annual Ramadan Lecture of Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria. He stated that 20 per cent of the total number of illegal weapons worldwide are in sub-Saharan Africa, with a significant portion of these in possession of criminals.

“Out of approximately 500 million illicit weapons in circulation worldwide in 2004, it was estimated that about 100 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, with eight to 10 million concentrated in the West African sub-region,” Abdulkadir said. “Regrettably, more than half of these Small Arms and Light Weapons are in the hands of non-state actors and criminal groups.”

“Nigeria is both a producer and consumer of SALW in the West African sub-region,” he continued. “Although it is difficult to determine the exact quantity of illegal SALW circulating within or penetrating into Nigeria, it is estimated that over 70 per cent of eight to 10 million illegal weapons in West Africa are in Nigeria.”

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