The Navy Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, Tuesday, distanced the Navy from the allegation made by Commodore Jamila Abubakar Malafa indicting Chadian soldiers.
Jamila Malafa, an international maritime lawyer and Navy’s first female Commodore, raised the alarm at a public hearing which the House of Representatives organized to take inputs on four security-related bills.
As representative of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo at the public hearing, Commodore Jamila Malafa revealed how weapons donated by developed countries to Nigeria’s neighbors enter the country illegally.
The Commodore noted that the situation was worsening the state of security in Nigeria, because non-state armed actions were taking possession of sophisticated arms.
In a statement distancing the Navy from the position expressed by Commodore Jamila Malafa, the spokesman said it was her “personal comments on the issue of transnational trafficking of small arms and light weapons.”
Dahun said that after presenting the position of the Navy on the Bill, Malafa made “unauthorized” remarks.
“This is as it relates to neighbors with which Nigeria maintains robust diplomatic security relationships/collaborations; a personal opinion that is at variance with the position of the NN.
“The NN wishes to categorically dissociate itself from the view of the senior officer. The NN appreciates the indelible contributions of our regional partners/neighbors in the fight against small arms and light weapons trafficking.”
Dahun added that effective and sustained regional cooperation towards ensuring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is the key priority of the Navy.
In the words of Navy Commodore Malafa: “They do not have armory. Most of the arms being donated by – I don’t want to be specific – developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria.
“You find out that each average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed. When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here and I am saying it.
“Section 9 (1) of one of the proposed bills suggests an additional function of proposing that seized weapons and arms be used by security agencies. I think we can look at the provisions of the international convention on the issue of how the arms should be used when seized.
“I was in charge as a member of the fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically here, I stand to be corrected, that some of these countries that we have borders with have no armory.
“Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries donating such arms to these countries, we should insist that they either enact laws to govern the handling of arms and ammunition or build an armory for these countries, else we will not see peace”, Malafa warned.