Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed his National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno (retd.), to design a template that will be used to reward persons who give information to government on individuals who are in illegal possession of firearms.
The measure is aimed at disarming those who have been using small arms and light weapons in their possession to cause communal conflicts across the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday.
Shehu said in a move to prevent and eradicate illegal ownership of small arms and light weapons, the Presidency was planning to float a whistle-blower scheme that would turn the spotlight on the regime of gun ownership and control in the country.
He said government had in the last few days been discussing how to strengthen the whistle-blower mechanism in the Ministry of Finance.
The presidential spokesman said the current whistle-blowing policy, targeted at recovering looted funds, had proven to be very effective in bringing the attention of the government to stolen assets and unexplained wealth.
He said the template being worked out would lead to the discovery and recovery of illegal weapons through a reward system.
Shehu said, “The Office of the National Security Adviser’s Initiative may be an independent line of inquiry or in active collaboration with what the government is doing in the Ministry of Finance.
“This will beam a sort of searchlight on weapons ownership in the country. Whatever form or shape it takes, the administration wants to take a tough line to curtail the large number of illegal weapons in circulation used in intra and inter-communal conflicts.
“The aim is to disarm communities especially those with proclivity for violence.”
He said the ONSA, which already had a committee on the recovery of small arms and light weapons in the country, had decided to adopt the whistle-blower approach so as to eradicate mass shooting incidents and stop the harassment of law-abiding citizens by holders of illegal weapons.
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