The Nigerian Army on Saturday stated that 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in West African are produced in Nigeria.

The Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir, gave the figure in his paper entitled, ‘The challenges of internal security and implications for national development’ at the 7th annual Ramadan lecture of Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria in Abuja.

Abdulkadir said, “Out of approximately 500 million illicit weapons in circulation worldwide in 2004, it was estimated that about 100 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, with eight to 10 million concentrated in the West African sub-region. Regrettably, more than half of these Small Arms and Light Weapons are in the hands of non-state actors and criminal groups.

“Nigeria is both a producer and consumer of SALW in the West African sub-region. Although it is difficult to determine the exact quantity of illegal SALW circulating within or penetrating into Nigeria, it is estimated that over 70 per cent of eight to 10 million illegal weapons in West Africa are in Nigeria.”

The army chief also decried the fact that access to illegal weapons made criminals and militants bolder when facing security agents, which made it more difficult to fight them.

He described security management as “a very expensive venture,” adding that the Federal Government had to spread resources among competing needs and that the Armed Forces had to manage scarce resources to carry out their duties.

He, however, stated that the government, in recent times, had increased funding to the security sector, which would go a long way in alleviating the problem of resources.

Also, the lecture, Mr. Nurudeen Abdulmalik challenged the Federal Government to find lasting solutions to the multifaceted problems bedevilling the nation.