Nigeria has reportedly spent about N115 billion on the importation of arms and ammunition into the country in the first quarter of this year.
According to the report, the amount involved was on importation made between January and March 2023.
The report said the amount spent on the importation of arms and ammunition was higher in 2023 compared with the last two years.
It said, within the same period in 2022, arms and ammunition worth N4.9 billion were imported into the country while in 2021, the amount spent was N37 billion.
The data for the report is from the Nigerian Customs Service through the Integrated Customs Information System, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, various companies in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Angila International Limited, Neroli Technologies Limited, Gojopal Nigeria Limited, Carmine Assayer Limited, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigerian Ports Authority, among others.
The report however did not reveal which agency or security outfits brought the arms and ammunition into the country
Reacting to the development, a security expert, Chidi Omeje told The Punch that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria should be revamped to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign countries for arms and ammunition.
He said the surge in the sum for the importation of arms is evidence of the insecurity in the country.
He noted that, “The multiplicity of internal security challenges is responsible for the increased importation of weapons in 2023. You have terrorists in the North-East, bandits in the North-West and the North Central. You have a violent separatist agitation in the South-East; there are oil thefts and attacks on our maritime assets in the South-South and kidnapping and armed robbery in the South-West. All these require arms and ammunition; electoral violence could also form part of it.
“The under-performance of DICON is responsible. The organisation was established the same period as its counterpart in India and other countries; but today, other countries are far ahead of ours. They are producing high calibre weapons but here we are, our DICON is still stuck with the production of furniture and what have you.
“You cannot rely on DICON for the production of these weapons needed by the security operatives to combat all manner of insecurity bedevilling the country. You have a country that is practically at war, you cannot wait for DICON. It is worrisome that we are still heavily dependent on foreign countries for all our weapons. The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities.”