The National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtrd), on Sunday, instructed individuals and organisations operating illegal security outfits to shut them down immediately.
NATFORCE was formed as a task force to combat the illegal importation and smuggling of small arms, ammunition, and light weapons into Nigeria, which he called “illegal”.
According to the Head of Strategic Communications at the office of Senator Manuel Montuno, who made the statement available to the media, illegal security outfits have invaded the country.
He cautioned individuals, organisations and foreign partners to be wary of illegal security outfits using the outfit to extort, harass and intimidate Nigerians in the country.
”The Office of the National Security Adviser has observed with concern the proliferation of illegal security outfits in the country.
“These illegal outfits have been masquerading and acting as part of the Nigerian security architecture while extorting, harassing and intimidating Nigerians.
”One of such groups is NATFORCE which seeks to combat illegal importation of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism and has been involved in the mounting of illegal roadblocks, conducting illegal searches, seizures and recruitment,” he said.
According to him, NATFORCE has no business controlling the importation and smuggling of small arms, ammunition and light weapons into Nigeria.
He added, ”For the avoidance of doubt, the general public and all stakeholders are to note that NATFORCE is an illegal outfit without any mandate or authority to carry out these functions.
“This trend is unacceptable and the promoters of NATFORCE are warned to dismantle their structures and operations immediately.”
The NSA stressed that the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), which is domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser, is the national coordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
The statement added, ”The Office of the National Security Adviser has directed the immediate dismantling of all illegal security outfits and warned against the use of these outfits to extort, harass and intimidate Nigerians.
”Following the setting up of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons on 3 May 2021, Nigeria has initiated the process for the full implementation of Article 24 of the ECOWAS Convention on small arms and light weapons.
”In this regard, national and international stakeholders are encouraged and expected to work closely with the Centre to strengthen Government-Civil Society initiatives.”