By IGHO OYOYO
The House of Representatives on Thursday set up an inquiry into the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition purchased for security agencies in the country for the last 10 years.
The House announced the probe, at the inauguration of an ad-hoc Committee mandated to review the purchase, use and control of arms, ammunition and related hardware by military, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Olaide Akinremi, in his opening remarks, claimed that Nigeria spent an estimated sum of $47.387 million in arms importation by 2019.
According to him, the Committee shall proceed to investigate the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition purchased in the last ten years by a clear inquest into the relevant tools and equipment, as well as ammunition as to whether evidence exists or not.
He further said the House at its sitting on December 8, 2020 had by a motion, debated, resolved and mandated them on the assignment.
Akinremi said the motion was pursuant to the National Assembly power of oversight in line with the provisions of section 4, 58, 59, 88 and 100 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
The lawmaker said there is a need for unfettered efficiency in the management of the economy of all nations, and procurement, for which arms and ammunition form a substantial proportion, amounts to 12 percent of global GDP in 2018.
He pointed out that the percentage for Africa stood at 13.5, while Nigeria’s was 14.25 percent.
“Arguably, the International Trade Centre ranks Nigeria 4th in Africa, and 52 in the world in arms importation,” he said.
He said the inauguration, which was attended by representatives of the heads of the concerned security outfits, was primarily set to create awareness of the originating definitions of the substantive fundamental principles of the hearing.
Akinremi said the Committee has commenced its legislative process of evidence gathering, towards accomplishing this legislative assignment.
“It is through evidence gathered that the Committee will be able to deliver on this all important national assignment that will guarantee national security, economic growth and national development.
“As a way forward, the Committee shall reach out to you in writing within the next 10 days with detailed requirements as it affects your institution such that it will assist our work, and form the basis for our subsequent interactions with you,” he said.