Reps investigates missing 178,459 police arms
• To address 20m mental health cases in Nigeria
House of Representatives has commenced investigations into alleged disappearance of about 178,459 arms and ammunition, belonging to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
It also called on Inspector General of Police (IGP) to urgently apprehend those culpable for depletion of the Force’s armoury.
The resolutions followed adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu.
Disappearance of the arms and ammunition was contained in the 2019 report of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
According to the lawmaker, the audit of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition, and Ammunition Register at the Armoury Section of Police revealed that lost firearms, as at December 2018, was 178,459 pieces.
Okechukwu explained that out of 178,459 missing arms, 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.
It was noted that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition, owing to non-compliance with the internal control system of the NPF.
“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 review.
“Duly completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) was not presented. 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.”
The lawmakers expressed concern that the value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.
Given the worsening spate of kidnapping and banditry in the country, Okechukwu noted that the missing arms might have ended up in the wrong hands.
ALSO, the House expressed concern over rising cases of mental health in the country, which it noted affects over 20 million Nigerians, quoting records from World Health Organisation (WHO).
Consequently, the lawmakers mandated the Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health to put measures in place towards improving mental health facilities in the country.
The committees are to explore modalities for liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.
This followed unanimous adoption of a motion by a lawmaker, Uchechuku Nnam-Obi, during plenary.
He explained that mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment.