The Nigerian navy has distanced itself from the allegation that Chadian soldiers engage in the illicit trade of small arms.
The navy was reacting to the submission made by Jemila Sadiq Abubakar, a commodore, when she appeared before the house of representatives committee on national security and intelligence on Monday.
Abubakar, who represented Awwal Gambo, chief of naval staff, had said some neighbouring countries do not have armouries, making it difficult for Nigeria to fight arms proliferation.
She said the lack of armouries in the neighbouring countries makes arms available to their security operatives who in turn sell them off when they are “broke”.
“They do not have armoury. So most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here, and I am saying it,” Abubakar had said.
In a disclaimer issued on Tuesday, Suleman Dahun, naval spokesman, said the officer made “unauthorised, personal comment”.
“The house of Representative Committee on National Security and Intelligence yesterday 27 September 2021 held a public hearing on 4 Bills, including the Bill for an Act to Establish the National Commission Against Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (HB 10),” the statement reads.
“During the hearing on this Bill, the representative of the Nigerian Navy (NN) duly presented the position of the Service on the proposed Act but went ahead to make some unauthorized, personal comments on the issue of trans-national trafficking of small arms and light weapons.
“This is as it relates to neighbours with which Nigeria maintains robust diplomatic security relationships/collaborations; a personal opinion that is at variance with the position of the NN. The NN wishes to categorically dissociate itself from the view of the senior officer.
“The NN appreciates the indelible contributions of our regional partners/neighbours in the fight against small arms and light weapons trafficking.
“Pertinently, effective and sustained regional cooperation towards ensuring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is a key priority of the NN.
“Against this background, the Service acknowledges the regional security efforts of our neighbouring countries within the existing frameworks of bilateral and multilateral cooperations and commits to working assiduously to strengthening these arrangements.”
Military sources have told TheCable that the commodore may face sanctions for making the unauthorised comment.