N115 Billion Ammunition Imported In Q1 2023 – Report

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The sum of N115bn was spent on the importation of arms and ammunition into the country in the first quarter of the year, The PUNCH has learnt.

This was revealed in the National Bureau of Statistics report on trade statistics obtained by our correspondent.

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 covers importation between January and March 2023.

However, the report did not state which agency or security outfits brought the arms and ammunition into the country.

Findings by our correspondent showed that the amount spent on the importation of arms and ammunition was higher in 2023 compared with the last two years.

Within the same period in 2022, arms and ammunition worth N4.9bn were imported into the country while in 2021, the amount spent was N37bn.

A security expert, Chidi Omeje, said the increase in the amount spent on imported weapons reflected the scale of security challenges bedevilling the country.

He said, “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.’’

He said the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria should be revamped to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign countries for arms and ammunition.

Omeje said, “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.”

PUNCH

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