From Gyang Bere, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has decried the wide proliferation of weapons in the hands of non-State actors which is fuelling insecurity and heightening crime in the country.
Lalong disclosed this at the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC) 2022 held at the 3rd Armoured Division Small Arms Range, Miango, Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau State.
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He said the efforts of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in curbing crime are being jeopardised by the prevalence of small and light weapons in the hands of non-State actors who have continued to threaten national security.
He said without doubt, the Nigerian Army boasts of great men and women who possess skills and potentials that are essential in enhancing the national security architecture.
He said “Let me also use this opportunity to request that the Nigerian Army and indeed the security agencies in the country do more to ensure that arms are taken away from non-state actors. The level at which un-permitted persons get access to arms and ammunition in the country is very worrying.
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“This has increased the cases of kidnapping, violent crimes and terrorism across the nation. While I urge you to continue in this regard, I wish to also emphasise the need for synergy among security agencies for better results. In a society where criminals are becoming more sophisticated, we need to close ranks and ensure that no one is left behind. This includes the civilian population which also has the duty to provide necessary and timely information to security agencies”.
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Lalong said his administration has done a lot to build the capacity of community and traditional systems as well as vigilante watch groups to serve as a support system to the conventional security apparatus at the grassroots. This he said has proven very effective as there is constant information on the criminals, leading to their dislodgement.
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He expressed hope that the competition will present a veritable avenue for the participating teams to discover their potentials and sharpen the skills required to enhance kinetic operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces, urging them to bring to fore team work, discipline, commitment and professionalism in the cause of the exercise.
GOC 3rd Armoured Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Ali said the exercise is a bi-annual event which brings together competitors from various formations of the Nigerian Army who compete for various categories in marksmanship and handling of small weapons.
He appreciated the Chief of Army Staff Gen. Farouk Yahaya for approving the hosting of the 2022 NASAC by the 3rd Armoured Division and also making funds available for the event to be organised.
Representative of the Chief of Army Staff Major General Stephen Olabamji in an interview with newsmen said the exercise was part of the overall programmes of the Nigerian Army towards ensuring that officers and men are equipped with the right skills in weapon handling that will enable them continue to perform their task of protecting the nation.