Senate to Investigate Disappearance of 178,459 Firearms from Police Armoury
Federal representatives have vowed to investigate the loss of 178,459 firearms and ammunition from police armouries across the country. In a motion filed by deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, representatives tasked the Inspector General of Police to arrest officers behind the massive disappearance of police weapons in Nigeria.
Okechukwu was inspired to file the motion following a 2019 report from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation that 178,459 arms and ammunition were missing from police formations in the country. The mysterious loss was also reported by major media recently.
“The audit of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition and Ammunition Register at the Armoury Section reveals that a total number of lost firearms as at December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces,” Okechukwu told the House on Thursday. “Out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations, which could not be accounted for as at January 2020.”
The legislator stated that police authorities refused to comply with internal control systems that would have ensured they kept a record of unserviceable and expired weapons and ammunition. He disclosed that audits for unserviceable firearms were not filed or registered in Police Mobile Force 46, 56, 64 and 68 of Adamawa State Command for the period under review.
Okechukwu revealed that while 46 arms went missing from 2000 to 2019 at the armament of Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, the 21 Police Mobile Force Squadron failed to report that even a single firearm was lost within the period. The duly completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) was also not filed at the command.
The failure of the 21 PMF to file the necessary documents relating to the disappearance of the weapons at the Abuja command made it impossible to determine the actual value of the loss, Okechukwu averred.
“The worsening state of security, kidnapping and banditry in the country and concerns that the missing arms could have found their ways into the wrong hands,” made the loss of the firearms and ammunition more worrisome, since the country has not undertaken any official wars in recent times, he said.
Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase said the House Committee on Public Account should be activated to investigate the firearms’ disappearance; and that the police authorities must not be trusted to carry out the investigations alone without third-party support.