In a renewed effort to curb the current bloodletting and insecurity heightened by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto,has mopped up illegal weapons and handed them over to the arms’ control agency.
Altogether, the Army recovered 706 small arms and light weapons from bandits and criminal elements in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States and handed them over to the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW).
They were presented on Tuesday, last week, to the agency by the Force Commander ofOperation Hadarin Daji and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Major General Uwem Bassey, at the parade ground of 26 Battalion, Giginya Barracks, Sokoto.
Bassey disclosed that the small arms and light weapons were recovered from bandits and criminal elements totaling 706 within the operation’s area of responsibility which include Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States.
According to him, “The operational successes recorded by troops of Operation Hadarin Dajifrom 2018 to May, 2022 led to recovery of 706 small arms and light weapons from the criminal elements.
“The weapons comprises of 203 AK-47, fourautomated fabricated rifles, seven G3 rifles, one GPMG, threesub machine guns, one light machine gun, four FN rifles, 410 dane guns, 71 locally-made pistols, onerocket propelledgrenade empty canister and one pump action gun.
“Significantly, most of these weapons were recovered from Zamfara State which is the epic centre of banditry.”
Receiving the weapons, the North West Zonal Coordinator of National Centre for the Control of Small Arms, Air Vice Marshal Haruna Umar Mohammed (retd), appreciated the troops and implored the general public to always give necessary information to mop up illegal firearms in the hands of criminals.
He urged the troops to sustain the tempo in order to decisively curtail the activities of criminal elements.
“I encourage the Operation Hadarin Daji to step up the tide to ensure that we recover all firearms from the society knowing that we are moving towards election and we want everybody to be safe.
“I am optimistic that more weapons would be recovered from the criminal elements as the general public and military collaborate in the fight against possession of unlawful firearms,” he stated.
President Mohammadu Buhari approved the establishment of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) in May 2021 to institutionaliseSALW control at all levels and to mainstream illicit SALW eradication efforts with a centre in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.