Nigerians have been advised by the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) to desist from acquiring weapons at all cost.
The National Coordinator, Maj.-Gen. Abba Dikko, said this on Thursday in Abuja, when he led a team to pay a courtesy call on the Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Fadah.
The visit was to seek the partnership of the NYSC in curbing proliferation of illicit arms in the country.
According to Dikko, insecurity persists in Nigeria because there are many illicit weapons in the hands of people.
He, however, said that there was need to stop the spread and handling of illicit weapons so that there would be peace, adding that once there was peace, there would be development.
He said that the NCCSALW was established to mainstream the proliferation of illicit small arms and it had to carry as many stakeholders as possible to achieve its aim.
“I found the NYSC as one veritable tool for which we can extend advocacy so that we can reach all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and it is important that we look at the platform.
“This is because it is more or less a quasi-military outfit and has a regimental way of doing things.
“So we thought if we develop skits that they can use to communicate with the different strata of the society in their respective places of primary assignment, then I think we will be well fulfilled in pushing this message.”
On the role of corps members in the campaign against illicit arms, he said they would help to carry the message along and talk to people in their target audience which was their immediate communities.
“They can break the communities into different strata, the youth, women, children, even the traditional institutions and faith based organisations.
“The corps members have a very powerful tool of communicating with people. Once they approach any community in their uniform and in their organised manner, people listen to them.
“I think it is a very good advocacy platform and we will surely want to collaborate with them and not just for now, we want it to be a sustained programme”, Dikko added.
Responding, Fadah commended him for finding NYSC worthy of such collaboration, adding that the scheme had national presence in all 774 Local Government Areas.
He also said that as the nation prepared for the general elections in 2023, there was need to curb the illegal use of firearms in the political process.
“NYSC is the bridge between their time as students and the larger society and they will continue to serve as good ambassadors.
“We are ready for the synergy and will be glad to have some of your staff to sensitise corps members while they are in the orientation camp,’’ Fadah said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NCCSALW was established in 2021 to replace the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
It serves as the institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
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