The Nigerian Navy has disowned the comment by one of its senior officers, Commodore Jemila Sadiq Abubakar that Chadian soldiers engage in the illicit trade of small arms.
Abubakar had while contributing to a bill seeking to establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja on Monday said some neighbouring countries do not have armouries, hence making it difficult for Nigeria to fight arms proliferation.
Abubakar, who represented the Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, said the lack of armouries in the neighbouring countries makes arms available to their security operatives who in turn sell them off when they are broke.
“They do not have armoury. So most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here, and I am saying it,” Abubakar had said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Naval spokesman, Suleman Dahun, said the view of the officer does not reflect the position of the Navy.
Dahun said the Navy appreciates the indelible contributions of “our regional partners/neighbours in the fight against small arms and light weapon trafficking.”
“The house of Representative Committee on National Security and Intelligence yesterday 27 September 2021 held a public hearing on 4 Bills, including the Bill for an Act to Establish the National Commission Against Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (HB 10),” the statement reads.
“During the hearing on this Bill, the representative of the Nigerian Navy (NN) duly presented the position of the Service on the proposed Act but went ahead to make some unauthorized, personal comments on the issue of trans-national trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
“This is as it relates to neighbours with which Nigeria maintains robust diplomatic security relationships/collaborations; a personal opinion that is at variance with the position of the NN. The NN wishes to categorically dissociate itself from the view of the senior officer.
“The NN appreciates the indelible contributions of our regional partners/neighbours in the fight against small arms and light weapons trafficking.
“Pertinently, effective and sustained regional cooperation towards ensuring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is a key priority of the NN.
“Against this background, the Service acknowledges the regional security efforts of our neighbouring countries within the existing frameworks of bilateral and multilateral cooperation and commits to working assiduously to strengthening these arrangements.”