Dissecting the Impact of Weapon Proliferation on Peace
Dr Adegboyega Adedolapo Ola was thrilled to graduate from UKZN with a PhD in Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies following the successful completion of his study which examined public perception on proliferation of small arms and light weapons and its impact on peace and security in Abuja, Nigeria.
Supervised by Dr Gerelene Jagganath the major findings of the study were that the ineffective control of small arms in the city led to their proliferation, accessibility and availability; causing various terrorist attacks and great havoc, lack of a national database and registration of the weapons as well as the absence of an effective marking, recording and tracing system which contributed largely to the proliferation. The study found that rogue military and security personnel aided in the proliferation of the weapons by illicit users.
‘Small arms, having the attributes of being readily available and easy to use, have been the primary tool of the terrorist attacks in every part of the world including those of Abuja. Wide availability, accumulation and illegal flow of small arms tends to escalate conflict, terrorism and insecurity and hinder development, social stability and good governance,’ explained Ola.
Through the study, it was discovered that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is a major cause of terrorism in Abuja which is a major factor that threatens peace and security in the city; leading to death and loss of property.
Ola recommended that the Nigerian government must increase the strength of regulating agencies in charge of the Nigerian borders such as the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration, Nigerian Police, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and other security forces, who should be provided with adequate and functional modern technical equipment for arms detection. He also recommended the establishment of an arms bearing national body or agency that will monitor and guard the stockpile, diversion and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the country.
‘The 1959 Nigeria Fire Act should be reviewed and amended in accordance with the Economic and Community of West African State Convention (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Programme of Action to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The Nigerian government should seek assistance and co-operate with foreign countries and relevant agencies towards resolving the issue of illegal arms trade into the country in order to reduce and control the problem of small arms proliferation. Even the civil society groups should co-operate better with government in terms of arms control and the fight against illicit arms.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal