The Nigerian Navy Ordinance Depot (NOD) in Lagos on Thursday commenced the destruction of 2,829 firearms recovered from Ondo State Amnesty Programme and unserviceable weapons belonging to the service.
The Admiral Superintendent NOD, Rear Adm. Abdul Adamu, officially commenced the destruction at the NOD in Navy Town, Ojo.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 475 of the firearms were service rifles of the navy, which were no longer useable, while 2,281 were recovered from repentant militants in Ondo State in 2018.
The exercise, which was organised following an approval by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, was the first since the depot’s establishment in 1966.
According to Adamu, the weapons comprised 2,108 single barrel rifles, 57 units of double barrel rifles, 189 short guns, 187 FN (Fabrique Nationale) rifles, 215 SIG (Schweitzerische Industrie-Gasellschaft) rifles and 73SMGs (Sub Machine Guns).
“The depot was established in 1966 as a strategic naval establishment primarily responsible for the storage and issuance of arms and ammunition to navy fleet and establishments.
“Its overtime roles expanded to include: installation, servicing and on demand, maintenance of arms onboard NN ships. The depot also caters for sister services in storing their ordinances from time to time.
“The naval headquarters recently authorised the depot to destroy the unserviceable weapons which comprised weapons seized from repentant militants by the Ondo State Amnesty Programme and unserviceable NN weapons.
“These consist of 2,108 single barrel rifles, 57 units of double barrel rifles, 189 short guns, 187 FN rifles, 215 SIG rifles and 73 SMGs which are earmarked for destruction during this exercise,” he said.
Adamu said the exercise would be conducted for two days to ensure that the weapons were rendered unusable.
“This will involve cutting of the barrels into tiny unusable pieces and finally burying the destroyed weapons in a dug hole at the depot.
“It is believed that this approach will permanently deny criminals and miscreants access to the seized weapons which could pose security threats to the society.
“Solving the problem of firearms proliferation is not for security agencies alone; these criminals are subset of the society.
“The police are doing well on arresting and parading the local manufacturers as we usually see through the media,” he said.
Adamu said what the navy had done with the exercise was another great step to stop the weapons from finding their ways back into the society.
“In the custody of the navy today, this is all we have to destroy. As you know, security is dynamic and these criminals keep evolving.
“We are not sleeping also. Definitely, as we arrest them in future, I am sure the navy will also approve their destruction,” he said.
The CNS, represented by the Director of Arms, Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Danjuma Dongoyaro, decried the proliferation of firearms, saying that the destruction was part of the measures to curb it.
Acknowledging that there was other use the metals could be put to, he said, the navy do not want to take chances that could make the weapons land in the hands of criminals again.
“We do not want a situation whereby they will get into wrong hands and are fabricated again.
“Moreover, in the process of disarmament, after you have seized the weapons, you must destroy them, even if they are brand new.
“Destroying these weapons is a means to curb firearms proliferation.
“Allowing them to find their ways back into the society will amount to fetching water with a basket.
“What we expect is for other security services with such arms in their custody to also destroy them,” he said. (NAN)