From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Independent National Elect House of Representatives has resolved to probe ‘missing’ 178,459 pieces of arms and ammunition from the armoury of the Nigeria Police.
An ad-hoc committee set up to undertake the probe is expected to report back in four weeks for further legislative actions.
The panel, as part of its assignment, is expected to establish the veracity of the allegations as well as conduct due diligence of the control processes of the armoury of the police.
The House also charged the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, to take immediate actions to apprehend those responsible for the alleged depletion of the armoury.
This followed the adoption of a motion by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, on the “Need to investigate alleged missing firearms and ammunition of the Nigeria Police,” at yesterday’s plenary.
Okechukwu, in the motion, informed the House that the 2019 audit report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, as reported by national dailies, indicated that about 178,459 different arms and ammunition, belonging to the police were allegedly missing. The lawmaker explained that “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.
“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.”
According to him, the value of the ‘missing’ firearms could not be ascertained as documents relating to their cost of acquisition were not presented for examination.
He stated that findings in the report indicated “that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition; owing to non-compliance to the internal control system of the Nigeria Police Force.
“Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56, 64 and 68 for the period under review.”
Okechukwu added that it was alarming “that duly completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented. Records obtained from force armament at Force Headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.”
The lawmaker expressed worry that owing to the spate of kidnapping, banditry and other security challenges, “the missing arms could have found their ways into the wrong hands.”