Political instability in Libya is one of the major drivers of weapons trafficking in northern Nigeria, reports the United States Africa Command.
In its quarterly magazine called the Africa Defense Forum, AFRICOM published last Tuesday an article examining the sources of arms proliferation in the Sahel region. ADF editors spoke to experts who had various ideas on how to control the proliferation of weapons, but all agreed it starts with improved security.
Instability in Libya was cited as one of the main reasons behind arms proliferation in northern Nigeria, according to Idris Mohammed, chief executive officer of the Sulhu Development Initiative, a nongovernmental humanitarian organization.
Mohammed, who is from northwest Nigeria, noted that several studies have shown that many of the weapons circulating today can be traced back to former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s vast stockpile.
“In 2012 or 2013, you could go to the nearby community and get the weapon and live ammunition for $10,” Mohammed told ADF. “You can acquire very sophisticated weapons. They were abundant. It was like when you go to the market to buy rice or maize.”
Some of the experts called on individual nations to address the issue, which would complement global efforts made by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and regional efforts such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Small Arms Convention.
Under the ECOWAS Convention, member states agree to control, regulate and prohibit the transfer, manufacture, and possession of small arms and light weapons.