The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Alli, says the Federal Government will soon set up a commission to mop up small arms and address the menace of light arms proliferation in the country.
The minister disclosed this on Monday in Gusau at a special town hall meeting on Federal Government measures to curb killings through cattle rustling in Zamfara.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, led five ministers to Gusau for the special town hall meeting.
Apart from Alli, others are Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Ministers of State, Environment, Usman Jibrin; Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed and Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar.
Responding to questions from participants at the town hall meeting, Alli said that the new commission under the office of the National Security Adviser would be charged with the responsibility of mopping up small arms, among others.
He said most of the proliferated small arms in the country came from Libya through the sub-Saharan route.
The minister said that Nigeria had over 3,000 forests, most of which were used for arms trafficking and were so enormous for military and security control.
He underscored the need for regular recruitment of security personnel, training as well as capacity development to checkmate criminality.
The minister said compared to the lip service by previous governments, the Muhammadu Buhari administration had recruited over 30,000 security personnel in three years.
The retired general charged state and local government administrations to double their efforts in beefing up security in alliance with traditional rulers in states.
Alli said that the crises in Zamfara were not between farmers and herdsmen neither were they religious or ethnic, but virtually due to activities of bandits.
Speaking in the same vein, the Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said the killings witnessed in the country had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion.
He said: “As I have always cited, those rustling cattle in Zamfara are largely Hausa/Fulani and Muslim.
“Those whose cattle are rustled are largely Hausa/Fulani and Muslim. Where is ethnicity?
“Where is religion in this?
“In Kebbi, more than 70 per cent of inmates in the state prison are there because of farmers-herders clash.
“Yet, the farmers are mostly Hausa/Fulani and Muslim, and the herders are mostly Hausa/Fulani and Muslim. Ethnicity and religion play no role.’’
The minister said that those bent on exploiting the national fault lines had distorted the narrative to give the killings ethnic and religious coloration.
He said: “This has aggravated the killings. We must repudiate them, even as the Federal Government continues to consolidate on the successful efforts to end the killings.”
The minister noted that the killings resulting from farmers-herders clashes, cattle rustling, trans-border crimes and banditry, among others, had fallen drastically.
He said the drastic fall in the killings resulted from concerted and committed actions by the Federal Government.
The minister, however, lamented that the success recorded by the government had not received the kind of media coverage that was given to the killings.
He appealed to the media to correct the trend and put national interest above any other considerations.