Former Head of State, retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has expressed concern over the proliferation of all calibre of weapons in the country, which he estimated at over six million.
Abubakar, who is Chairman, National Peace Committee, painted the grim picture of security challenges at a dialogue of the committee with key stakeholders in Abuja on Wednesday.
He lamented that the proliferation of weapons has heightened insecurity and led to over 80,000 deaths and close to three million Internally Displaced Persons.
He said: “The proliferation of all calibre of weapons, in our sub-region in general and in Nigeria in particular, is worrying.
“It is estimated that there are over 6 million of such weapons in circulation in the country.
“This certainly exacerbated the insecurity that led to over 80,000 deaths and close to three million internally displaced persons.”
Abubakar, however, said the challenges facing the country was not only a security issue in the sense of military definition, but that it had assumed an all encompassing nature.
He listed these challenges to include Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, increasing poverty, calls for balkanisation of the country from different quarters, threat of hunger arising from insecurity faced by farmers, increasing sense of collective despair and despondency among the populace.
The ex-military Head of State also said security forces were not just over stretched, but underfunded.
He added: “We believe Nigeria must find a way out of these problems.
“Our hope is that perhaps among us, by listening to your different perspectives, we can begin to build up confidence among our people so that we can hold together.
“So our hope is that we shall not only share our collective lamentations about the current situation, but propose some concrete suggestions that can point the way forward.
“Suggestions that can inspire more confidence among our people and ensure that our country remains one.”
While welcoming stakeholders, including traditional rulers; Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong; religious leaders; military; police; and other security agencies, Abubakar said President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the meeting and supported it.
He said the expectation was that the meeting would unearth the causes of the conflict and how to mitigate them.