The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment on Monday supervised the destruction of over 260 arms 5510 ammunition at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Cross River State.
The weapons were part of those surrendered in 2018 by former militants known as Bakassi Strike Force, as well as those recovered from criminals.
The event was part of the implementation of the Nigerian component of the ECOWAS/EU Small Arms Project. It is also an initiative of the ECOWAS Commission, funded by the European Union.
Speaking at the event that was attended by Governor Ben Ayade, his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, amd service commanders, among others, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Dr Dickson Orji, said, “Today, we start the destruction of over 260 arms and 5,510 ammunition as part of the Federal Government disarmament initiative.”
He commended Ayade for spearheading the civilian disarmament initiative.
Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner of Police, Sikiru Akande, said some of the weapons were stolen from police armoury and pleaded with the governor to allow the police retrieve the weapons.
Ayade said the collapsed Gadaffi regime and the Ambazonia conflicts contributed to the rise of criminalities in the state.
According to the governor, “With the collapse of the Gadaffi regime, young men and women with him in Libya started migrating downwards from North Africa.
“As this persisted, the choice of the use of weapons to secure a means of livelihood became imperative to them.”
He commended Operation Akpakwu for keeping the state safe and expressed optimism that with the recovery and destruction of the arms the people of the state could sleep in peace.