Security agencies to crack down on NATFORCE over illegal activities
Security agencies are set to carry out a major crackdown on an illegal security outfit, National Taskforce on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism, for defying Federal Government’s ban on its operations throughout the country.
The Guardian gathered that the illegal security outfit, known as NATFORCE, incurred the wrath of the security agencies for disregarding the order of the Federal Government on its ban.
NATFORCE is alleged to have become emboldened in its illegal activities by luring some influential Nigerians, particularly some retired military personnel, ex-senior police officers and some members of the National Assembly with employment promises for their preferred candidates and people in their constituencies.
The group is also said to have issued 18,000 fake appointment letters for employment into the illegal security outfit after allegedly collecting various sums of money, ranging from N6000 to N35, 000 from the beneficiaries. One Dr Baba Mohammed, identified as its Director General, signed a copy of NATFORCE’s purported appointment letter, sighted by our correspondent.
In June 2021, FG had declared NATFORCE as an illegal security outfit and directed it and other similar groups to immediately end their operations nationwide.
The National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is the only national coordination mechanism for the control and monitoring of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in legally constituted the Federal Government.
The eight-member body has Major General A. M. Dikko (rtd) as its Coordinator and eight other Directors drawn from the major security agencies in the country. A Bill sponsored by the ONSA for its transformation from a Centre to a full-fledged Commission is already being considered for passage by the National Assembly.
NATFORCE’s illegal activities, according to findings, have been undermining NCCSALW’s operations and left the Centre with the challenge of extricating itself from dubious conducts of a security outfit already banned by Federal Government through the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Following the development, the Presidency has put machinery in place to implement the recommendations contained in the ONSA report on NATFORCE’s illegal activities.
The ONSA report accused NATFORCE, which it describes as “an unincorporated organisation” of “pushing to crystallise into a Para-military Government Law Enforcement Agency,” adding that it also engages “in various forms of illegal activities including mounting road blocks, conducting illegal searches and seizures, and extortion of innocent members of the public. They also deceive members of the public through purported recruitment.”
The report highlighted several court judgments declaring NATFORCE an illegal body and nullifying its continued existence, adding, “The judgment of the Court of Appeal put an end to the numerous suits filed by NATFORCE against the State Security Service (SSS).
“Unfortunately, NATFORCE continued to exist illegally and has not abated in deceiving members of the public that their activities are recognised by law and usually citing the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“This is even more uncharitable considering the fact that the Court of Appeal exhaustively reflected the true position of the Federal High Court Judgment.”