From Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada, yesterday confirmed speculations that weapons stolen from Libyan armoury have found their way to Nigeria.
In the dying days of the regime of Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the armoury was looted and some sophisticated weapons were reportedly stolen.
There had been unconfirmed reports that some of the looted weapons, which included surface-to-air launchers, had found their way into Nigeria and might be part of the Boko Haram armoury.
Obada, speaking in Abuja when a delegation of the National Defence University of Pakistan visited the Ministry of Defence, confirmed the report but expressed confidence that Nigeria is at peace with all countries of the world and, therefore, free from any form of external security threats, especially from its immediate neighbours.
“Today in Nigeria, we are at peace with our neighbours and do not face any external threats. I cannot recall right now any external threats because we are at peace with everybody. However, we are aware that since the end of the Libyan war, some weapons made their way down south and in Nigeria. Nevertheless, today in Nigeria, we do face serious internal threats, but we do hope that the threats will be reduced to the barest minimum,” she said.
She however acknowledged that the country was being challenged by serious internal security threats, such as the current terrorist attacks by Boko Haram.
“We also use this opportunity to advise those who are involved in this dastardly act to sheathe their sword and let peace reign in Nigeria,” she said.
The minister also noted that in addition to the Boko Haram challenge, the country had other internal issues of arms smuggling, piracy and oil theft, which she described as non-military issues that constitute security threat.
Obada commended the long standing Nigeria-Pakistani military relations, which dates back to 1960s, as mutually beneficial for both countries.
She, however, urged the Pakistani authorities to review what she described as exorbitant fees their various security institutions charge Nigerian military officers.
Earlier, the leader of the Pakistani delegation, Brig-Gen. Syed Haider Ali-Nagri, said the group, which comprises 19 senior military officers and two civilians, was in the country in furtherance of cementing existing relations with Nigeria.
Ali-Nagri said the National Defence University of Pakistan deals with policy and strategic level training of their officers on the security issues of the country through the military platform.
The group, which also includes six senior military officers from Sri Lanka, sought to know the current security challenges in Nigeria and whether there were external links or dimension.
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