Nigerian Scholars, lawyers say arms discovery in Kano is dangerous signal

The scholars asked for more pro-active efforts by Nigerian security agencies.

Some scholars and lawyers based in Lagos said on Friday that the discovery of an armoury in Kano suspected to belong to Hezbollah, a Lebanese group, was a dangerous and disturbing signal.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) said on Thursday that it had uncovered a Lebanese terror cell and a Hezbollah armoury near Bompai Road, Kano.

The force said that it recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition and confirmed the arrest of three persons over the armoury and the cell.

Hezbollah is described on the internet as a Shia military and political movement based in Lebanon; it is considered by the U.S. as a terrorist organisation.

A law teacher at the University of Lagos, Oyelowo Oyewo, said that the recovery was a wake-up call to the Federal government and the security agencies to be on “extreme alert’’.

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Mr. Oyewo, a professor, said on phone that the Federal Government should immediately come up with a clearly defined approach to the anti-terrorism war, adding that it should adopt a preventive rather than reactionary approach.

“The discovery of such large cache of arms in the country goes to show that terrorism has gone past political interests in the country to global terrorism.

“The terrorism war in the country is real because the kind of arms just discovered had not been seen in the country before, which goes to show that the terrorism in Nigeria is not limited to just one sect, which we all are familiar with,” he said.

According to him, more sophisticated international sects have now found themselves in the country with what he described as very dangerous motives and targets.

“It, therefore, behoves the Federal Government and our security operatives to take security issues seriously by ensuring that a well defined measure for anti-terrorism is put in place,” Mr. Oyewo said.

The don said that the need had arisen for Nigeria to tap into the international network of anti-terrorism.

“We must put our feet on the ground by joining forces with such international organisations to nip this challenge in the bud,” he said.

However, Oyewo lauded the efforts of the JTF for being able to make the discovery.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, Onyekachi Ubani, said the fact that such a large cache of arms was discovered in the country was an embarrassment.

“We must drive away criminals from this country, whether they are foreigners or locals; we must begin to scrutinise who are our partners,” he said.

He urged the government to beam its searchlight on those who claimed to be investing in Nigeria but were actually only here to fuel criminality and insecurity.

“We must profile them and those who do not mean well for this country, and they should be barred from entering Nigeria,” he said.

Another lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, said the recent conviction of an Iranian for smuggling arms into the country was a justification to start profiling some people from areas known for breeding terrorists.

“Our security agencies have the moral right to start profiling some of the nationals of these countries.

“Those who are known to be involved in such things won’t be able to gain entry into the country,” Mr. Ogunye said.

He also urged Nigerian security agencies to be proactive to thwart the importation of arms into the country.

According to him, they should not just be content with discovering cache of arms, but should do more to prevent their entry.

A former Chairman of the NBA, Ikeja branch, Adebamigbe Omole, said that the security agencies must focus more on intelligence gathering.

“There is an urgent need to reform the image of Nigerian security operatives so that people will have confidence in them.

“This will help them in gathering more intelligence in the campaigns against kidnapping and terrorism in the country,” Mr. Omole said.

Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, Vice-Chancellor of the Imo State University, raised concern over the porous nature of the country’s border posts.

Mr. Awuzie, the immediate past president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said that there was the need to boost security at the airports and the borders to check the influx of more arms into the country.

“I think such a development is a dangerous signal for the citizens and the country as a whole.

“We must get our security operatives to be on their toes by ensuring that everything they need in carrying out their duties effectively is readily made available to them,” he said.


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