Babagana Monguno the National Security Adviser (NSA) has directed the immediate dismantling of all illegal security outfits across the country.
In a statement on Sunday, the NSA through the Head, Strategic Communication, in the Office of The National Security (ONSA) Adviser Zakari Usman also warned against the use of these outfits to extort, harass and intimidate Nigerians.
Monguno cautioned individuals, organisations and foreign partners on the activities of NATFORCE, which it said was illegally formed as a task force to combat illegal importation and smuggling of small arms, ammunition and light weapons into Nigeria.
“The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser is the national coordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
“The Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with concern the proliferation of illegal security outfits in the country.
“These illegal outfits have been masquerading and acting as part of the Nigerian security architecture while extorting, harassing and intimidating Nigerians. One of such groups is NATFORCE which seeks to combat illegal importation of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism and has been involved in mounting illegal roadblocks, conducting illegal searches, seizures and recruitment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the general public and all stakeholders are to note that NATFORCE is an illegal outfit without any mandate or authority to carry out these functions.
“This trend is unacceptable and the promoters of NATFORCE are warned to dismantle their structures and operations immediately,” the communique reads in parts.
The NSA further noted that following the setting up of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons on 3 May 2021, Nigeria has initiated the process for the full implementation of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on small arms and light weapons. Adding that in this regard, national and international stakeholders are encouraged and expected to work closely with the Centre to strengthen Government-Civil Society initiatives.