By Orelope Yusuff for Irohinoodua
Nigeria is a leading host of illegal weapons in West Africa, the United Nations, (UN) has said. The UN estimates that 500million Small and Light Weapons, (SLW) are in West Africa out of which 70 percent of them are domicile in Nigeria.
The Director, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, UNREC, Ms Olatounbo Ige told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Irohinoodua reports.
She spoke at the National Consultation on Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) in Abuja which was orgainsed by the Agency and the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, PRESCOM.
The UN said Nigeria is littered with illicit weapons that have found their way into the hands of non state actors, posing a huge threat to the stability of Africa’s most populous country.
She said “The illicit proliferation of SALW has had a dramatic impacy on peace and security in Africa, threatening not only the existence of the state, but also the livelihoods of millions of people across the continent.
“Nigeria is one of the countries experiencing some of the most devastating effects of the proliferation of SAWL as a result of spill over effect of the recent crisis in Libya and mali as well as unresolved internal conflicts in different parts of the country, especially in the North East, Niger Delta and Southern regions.”
She said further “While reliable data on the numbers of the number of these weapons weapons circulating freely in the country is unavailable, analysts have in recent times estimated that of the about 500million weapons that may be circulating in West Africa in 2010, some 70 percent of these could be found in Nigeria.”