The Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Gusau on Monday destroyed 5,870 illegal arms and ammunition recovered by the Zamfara Government.
The exercise marked the launch of the pilot stage of the destruction of arms and weapons recovered from persons who illegally held them.
The recovery in Zamfara was made from repentant bandits who surrendered their weapons to the state government Committee for Peace, Reconciliation and Disarmament, headed by the deputy governor, Ibrahim Wakkala.
The exercise which took place at Zamfara Trade Fair Complex in Gusau, was chaired by the chairman of the Presidential Committee, Emmanuel Imohe.
The event was attended by Zamfara governor, Abdul’aziz Yari and his deputy, Wakkala, representatives of international agencies such as the EU, ECOWAS and UNDP as well as security agencies and traditional rulers.
In his remark, Mr Imohe said the exercise was aimed at destroying a total of 5,870 arms and ammunition received under Zamfara state disarmament initiative.
“Apart from the destruction of illegal and recovered arms, one of the mandates of this presidential committee is also to improve livelihood of the people and communities that surrendered their weapons.
“Zamfara is one of the seven states in the country selected by the Federal Government for a pilot programme.
“This programme is also a flat form for raising awareness of dangers associated with the circulation of illegal weapons that have killed, injured and terrorised people all over the world,” he said.
Mr Imohe commended Zamfara for initiating the disarmament programme which resulted to the recovery of over 5,000 small arms, ammunition, grenades, automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
“I am happy to be associated with this laudable efforts made by Zamfara State Government.
“I consider this as one of great achievements recorded by this committee, I thank the state disarmament committee led by the state Deputy Governor, Malam Ibrahim Wakkala, and all stakeholders who contributed to the success recorded.
“You know, this committee was inaugurated in April 2013 by the Federal Government with the mandate to be the focal point in the efforts of the country to address the movement of illicit illegal arms and light weapons.
“We are working with international organisations to conduct practical disarmament at border communities in the country and provide a support for repentant bandits,’’ he said.
In his remark, Mr Yari thanked the Federal Government for setting up the presidential committee and international organisations for their efforts for peace and stability in the state and country.
Mr Yari said the state had recorded many deaths, casualties and huge losses in economic activities as result of cattle rustling and banditry.
He said such losses necessitated the setting up the Peace, Reconciliation and Disarmament Committee by the state government.
“The Committee since inception has recorded great successes of recovering over 5,000 illegal arms and large number of repentant bandits across the state.
“We are witnessing the destruction of these illegal weapons today, we are going to continue to give all the necessary support to Federal Government and all stakeholders as regard to improvement of security in the state and country at large.
“We are going to provide authentic lists of repentant bandits and those who surrendered their arms and submit it to the Federal Government for assistance with the aim of changing their livelihood,” he said.
The Zamfara Government in an effort to address security challenges in the state in 2016 set up the Peace, Reconciliation and Disarmaments Committee.
Similarly, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in March ordered the recovery of all illegal arms across the country to check the deteriorating security situation.