Reps to Review Arms Procurement
The House of Representatives has commenced an inquiry into the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition purchased for security agencies in the country in the last 10 years.
This was disclosed at the inauguration of an ad-hoc Committee mandated set up by the house to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies, held at the National Assembly complex on Thursday.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Representative. Olaide Akinremi, from Oyo State, claimed that Nigeria spent an estimated sum of $47.387 million in arms importation in 2019.
The House through the resolution of a motion moved at plenary last year, December 8, mandated the Committee to carry out the findings.
According to him, “the motion is pursuant to the National Assembly power of oversight in line with the provisions of section 4, 58, 59, 88 and 100 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended”.
Speaking further, the lawmaker said “the inaugural meeting is primarily set to create an awareness of the originating definition of the substantive fundamental principle of the hearing. Therefore, the Committee has commenced it the legislative process of evidence gathering towards accomplishing this legislative assignment. It is to through evidence gathered that the Committee would be able to deliver on this all-important national assignment that will guarantee security, economic growth, and national development”.
Rep. Akinremi said there is a need for efficiency in the management of the economy of all nations, and procurement, for which arms and ammunition form a substantial proportion, amounts to 12 percent of global GDP in 2018.
He pointed out that the percentage for Africa stood at 13.5, while Nigeria’s was 14.25 per cent.
The inauguration, which was attended by representatives of the heads of the concerned security outfits, according to him, was “to create awareness of the originating definitions of the substantive fundamental principles of the hearing”.
The Chairman said the Committee has commenced its legislative process of evidence, as he urged all stakeholders to cooperate with the committee.
“As a way forward, the Committee shall require your utmost, timely and kind cooperation for the purpose of completeness. It shall be mandatory for chief executives, heads of concerned institutions to attend to all inquiries, written or oral, and physically present at all sessions of the Committee hearings such that will assist our work, and form the basis for our subsequent interactions with you,” he said.
In his submission Rep.Ibrahim Aliyu, from Sokoto State, who sponsored a motion on the need to review the purchase of arms and ammunition in the country, said the move is to tackle inadequacy in the provision of arms and ammunition to security agencies.
Rep. Aliyu also explained that reviewing the ammunition purchase would also provide the opportunity to reduce the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country.