Zakari Usman, Head of Strategic Communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), warned on Sunday against the use of these outfits to extort, harass, and intimidate Nigerians.
The NSA warned individuals, organisations, and foreign partners about NATFORCE’s activities, which it claimed were formed illegally as a task force to combat the illegal importation and smuggling of small arms, ammunition, and light weapons into Nigeria.
“The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), which is housed in the Office of the National Security Adviser, serves as the country’s coordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of small arms and light weapon proliferation in Nigeria,” Usman explained.
“The National Security Adviser’s Office has expressed concern about the proliferation of illegal security outfits in the country.
“These illegal organisations have posed as members of the Nigerian security apparatus, extorting, harassing, and intimidating Nigerians. NATFORCE is one of these groups. Its mission is to combat illegal arms, ammunition, light weapons, chemical weapons, and pipeline vandalism. It has been involved in illegal roadblocks, illegal searches, seizures, and recruitment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the general public and all stakeholders should be aware that NATFORCE is an illegal organisation that lacks the mandate and authority to perform these functions.”
This trend is intolerable, and NATFORCE’s promoters are urged to immediately dismantle their structures and operations.
” On 3 May 2021, Nigeria established the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, initiating the process for implementing fully Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on small arms and light weapons. National and international stakeholders are encouraged and expected to collaborate closely with the Centre in order to bolster Government-Civil Society initiatives.