The House of Representatives has resolved to probe the alleged missing 178,459 arms and ammunition in the Nigeria Police Force as contained in the 2019 report of the Auditor General for the Federation.
This was based on a motion of urgent Public importance promoted during plenary by the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu.
Okechukwu in his submission noted that the Auditor General to the Federation said in the report that over 88,000 of the missing arms are AK-47 assault rifles could not be accounted for by the Police.
According to him, the audit of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition and Ammunition Register at the Armoury Section reveals that a total number of lost firearms as at December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces.
He noted that out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations, which could not be accounted for as at January 2020.
"The findings in the report that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition; owing to non-compliance to the internal control system of the Nigeria Police Force.
"Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56, 64 and 68 for the period under",Hon. Okechukwu said.
He noted that dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented adding that records obtained from force armament at Force Headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.
Okechukwu expressed worry that the value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.
The Enugu born lawmaker explained that considering the worsening state of security, kidnapping and banditry in the country and concerned that the missing arms could have found their ways into the wrong hands adding that Nigeria did not undertake any war in recent times.
The House mandated the Committee on Public Accounts to establish the veracity of those allegations and conduct due diligence of the control processes of the armoury of the Nigeria Police Force; and report back to the House within four (4) weeks as well as call on the Inspector General of Police to take urgent actions to apprehend those culpable for the depletion of the armoury of the Nigeria Police Force; and mandate the House Committee on Police Affairs to report back to the House within four (4) weeks were therefore amended following some contributions from the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Wase.
Wase advised that the Adhoc Committee already set up by the House should be allowed to carry out the criminal aspect of the investigation while the House Committee on Public Account should be allowed to investigate the whereabout of the arms in accordance with its constitutional mandate.
He said there were lots of information that he is keeping to himself, adding that the issue of missing arms may not be limited to the Police alone.