The Nigerian government said Monday it has approved the establishment of a small arms control center to tackle the illicit flow of weapons and step up responses to insecurity in Nigeria.
The new center, named the National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, is part of the ongoing restructuring of the country's security architecture to address emerging threats, said a statement from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
The center will serve as an institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the west African country, according to the statement.
The impact of the proliferation of SALW across national borders in Africa and the Sahel region has resulted in terrorism, human trafficking, organized crime, and insurrections in west Africa and Nigeria, it said.
"Therefore, as one of the measures in tackling this threat, the new center will be fulfilling the requirements of the Ecowas (Economic Community of West African States) moratorium on import, export, and manufacture of light weapons as well as the UN (United Nations) plan of action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW," it added.
It said the center, to be domiciled in the ONSA, will maintain international cooperation and operate zonal offices in the six geopolitical zones in the country to ensure quick response and effective mobilization of resources.
Nigeria, the most populous African country, has in recent months been troubled by a series of insecurity cases, including kidnapping, terrorist attacks, banditry and piracy.