In a bid to secure the nation and put an end to the proliferation of dangerous weaponry, the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons, and Pipeline Vandalism (NATCOM) has declared war on those involved in the illegal arms trade. With a strong resolve and a sense of urgency, NATCOM is gearing up for an intense campaign targeting importers, dealers, and hoarders of light weapons, ammunition, and chemical weapons in the coming 100 days.

The Council of Commandants within NATCOM wasted no time in taking action against the former director general, Baba Mohammed, who faced allegations of misconduct. Swiftly replacing him, Otumba Adejare Adegbenro stepped into the role of the new acting director general, ready to lead the charge.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Adegbenro outlined the commission’s objectives. Alongside their primary mission of preventing the importation of illegal arms and ammunition, they are committed to curbing youth restiveness by generating employment opportunities. A staggering 7,000 jobs will be created in each state of Nigeria, serving as a crucial step towards addressing the root causes of unrest.

To achieve their goals, NATCOM recognizes the need for comprehensive action at all levels. They intend to engage with individuals involved in every aspect of the arms trade, from the lowest to the highest levels, including fishermen across the states. Compliance with the ECOWAS treaty, to which Nigeria became a signatory in 2006, is of utmost importance in the fight against illegal arms. This entails halting the influx of weapons through borders and seas while collaborating with other agencies to identify and address the sources of leakage.

Adegbenro expressed confidence in NATCOM’s approach, stating, “In the next 100 days, we will make significant seizures from importers, sellers, and hoarders of these weapons. Through a coordinated campaign and collaboration with other agencies, we will clamp down on illegal arms trade. It won’t be an easy task, but I am a goal-getter, and we will succeed.”

Highlighting the importance of regional cooperation, the NATCOM boss emphasized their alignment with the ECOWAS Commission in combating the importation of illegal arms, small weapons, and chemical weapons. By working closely with other ECOWAS member states, NATCOM aims to minimize and ultimately eradicate the inflow of these dangerous weapons, thus contributing to enhanced security across the region.

As NATCOM takes the lead in addressing the critical issue of illegal arms, they call upon the support of the new government, including President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly. Recognizing the dire unemployment situation faced by the youth, they urge swift backing to pass legislation and provide the necessary resources. By prioritizing job creation, NATCOM aims to empower and engage the youth, ensuring a brighter and more secure future for the nation.

In anticipation of President Tinubu’s assent to the commission’s bill, NATCOM stands ready to fulfill its mandate and make Nigeria a safer place for all its citizens.