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PROLIFERATION OF SMALL ARMSAND LIGHT WEAPONS IN ANAMBRA SINCE 1970: IMPLICATIONS FOR SOUTH-EAT SECURITY
Kano state was created on 27 May, 1967 from the then Northern Nigeria by the Federal Military Government. The state is located in North-Western Nigeria -11030’N 8030’E and borders Katsina State to the North-West, Jigawa State to the North-East and Bauchi and Kaduna State to the South. With an Area of 20,760 sq km. Population of approximately 10,000,000 people as at 2010. The major language is Hausa and religion predominantly Islam. The state has 44 Local Government Areas. The capital of Kano State is Kano.
The State is nicknamed the ‘center of commerce’. This is as a result of its historical records of economic and commercial activities. For the past 500 years within the Western Sudan sub region. It serves as Trans-Sahara trade route. As it still remain the second largest industrial center in Nigeria and the largest in Northern Nigeria.
The rate of economic and commercial growth in the state seems to be at a slow pace. Compared to Lagos State in the Southern part of Nigeria, which is the largest in Nigeria.
Business and commercial activities has taken a turn for the worse in Kano State as a result of various security threats occasioned by frequent killings, bombing and other violent crimes. This have impacted negatively on both the private and public sector of the economy. Since development can only be experience where there is peace and security.
- BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The changing trend of threats to our National security is occasioned by the evolution and development of new factors in the internal and external environment of the Nigeria State. The security of the Nigerian state is aimed at protecting National integrity of the state and defending the essential values that constitute Nigerian identity.
The proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) has been given wide spread international focus in the post cold war era (Baxter, 2008). This is because these weapons have become the primary tools of ethnic and internal conflict in recent times. They have been the sources of violence, wars, conflict and crimes. It is a phenomenon that is destabilizing the peace, development and threatening the National security of sovereign States.
However, in nearly all conflict and crime, the diffusion of Small Arms and Light weapons particularly from industrialized nations to developing world has played a decisive role in escalating and intensifying the various threats to our national security. For example, the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Kano state of Nigeria and the Nation in general, together with the activities of the Insurgent group of Boko-Haram, cannot be overlooked in this discourse. Secondly, the Proliferation of Small Arms its misuse generates a climate of fear and culture of violence that can last for generations. Insecurity affects decision-making, access to food, water and shelter, as well as mobility and commerce. Thirdly, Small Arms and Light Weapon Proliferation discourages foreign investment and damages the prospects of economic development. As its availability promotes violent solution to conflict.
Lastly, it increases the level of criminal acts in society ranging from; robberies, assassination, kidnapping, assaults and car hijacking etc.
Readily available and easy to use, Small Arms and Light Weapons have been the primary and the sole tools for violence in almost all parts of the federation of Nigeria. In the hand of irregular troops, bandits, groups, individuals and politician operating with scant respect for International and National Humanitarian Laws. Small Arms and Light Weapons are killers Weapons.
Globalization too is becoming an ever influencing architect of the new international security agenda. Its impact on the evolution of the relations among states is contradictory. It has facilitated the easy transportation of illegal Arms and Light Weapons from porous borders of bordering States like Chad and Niger Republic respectively into Kano State and Nigeria in general.
These Arms are precisely ‘small’. They circulate easily because they are small, easy to buy, easy to use, easy to transport and easy to conceal. Their proliferation exacerbates conflicts, sparks refugees’ flows, and undermines the rule of law and spawn a culture of violence and impunity. Thus poses threat to National and State security.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The statements of problem is the fundamental question that requires an answer, it is the most worrying issues that need to be properly examine and understood. The research problem is the fulcrum which the research objective and hypotheses resolve (Obasi, 1999). Under the statement of problem the researcher is expected to examine the ‘why’ related issues the researcher does not only describe as such but rather raise question that attract curiosity and expectation in terms of answer.
The problem of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) has intensified in the country since the late ‘60s to the very end of the Nigerian-Biafran war and after. Since the priority then, of both parties was to win the war at all cost, this made for massive importation of arms and weapons into the country. Since in times of war the situation provide for local populace to find ways to survive at all cost. Locally made arms were produced (both rifles, pistols, and land mines and other explosives). Some of these arms, either imported or locally made are still in circulation till today. The problem of illicit production, sales, distribution and trafficking of light weapons have threatened human welfare and dignity in many parts of the country. Ranging from distortion in National economy due to violence, terrorism and assassination, to corruption of public officials especially the law enforcement agents, who in themselves are made to keep watch either on the borders and sea routes, on the spread of these arms.
Against this backdrop of proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the country, the Nigerian Government has established a National commission on small arms, as required by the moratorium; it faces a daunting task of exerting control and reducing the circulation, availability and diffusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons through its borders and sea routes into the country.
The research problem centers on the extent at which the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria, poses a threat to National Security, using Kano State of Nigeria as a case study. It is against this backdrop that the following questions will be addressed.
- To examine the nuances surrounding the concept of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation and seek a better understanding of their meaning.
- To examine the factors that encourages the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria.
- To examine the interconnection and multiple linkages between Small Arms and various threats to National Security.
- To identify and explain the role of SALW in the escalation of various security threats in Nigeria.
- To examine, the role of the State, National and International Organization in regulating the spread of SALW in Nigeria.
vi To analyze the ways in which SALW proliferation are threat to National Security.
- HYPOTHESIS/RESEARCH QUESTION
A hypothesis is an idea or explanation for something that is based on known fact but which has not yet been proved. The more explicit and focused a research is, the easier it is to develop a hypothesis from it. A hypothesis formulates a relation, which then will be tested empirically. The hypothesis/Research question is the fundamental question about the study that requires an answer. It is a fundamental question because other specific research question derives from it. It also shapes or determines the research objectives. Obasi (1999) noted that research question is the most worrying issue or fact that needs to be properly examined and understood.
To focus the study more sharply, the following hypothesis/research question will be formulated for testing.
- The proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) endangers threat to National Security.
- The current porous state of Kano State’s borders and routes is partly responsible for the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
- The proliferation of SALW is partly due to the inability of government and security agent to come up with policies and strategies to regulate the inflow of illegal arms, which may be either due to corruption or negligence.
- PURPOSE OF STUDY
The research is intended to highlight, how Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) have exacerbated the various threat to National Security. It will also provide a framework for controlling regimes such as internal processes, National policy and Regional initiatives. These policy options will be provided by the study, to State, Sub-Regional, National and International organizations. Since the problem of SALW are not limited to any particular State.
The adoption of the multiple options that will be provided by this study will reduce and contain the various threats to our State and National Security in which Small Arms and Light Weapons are the weapons of choice.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The significance of study is, the value or contribution which the research is going to make to existing knowledge in terms of theoretical justification or relevance. Secondly, the solution the research is going to provide towards ameliorating a practical problem of concern.
Therefore, the study has theoretical and practical relevance. The theoretical relevance of this study is that it examines the role of the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in Kano State. By so doing, the study enriches the existing stock of literature or expands the frontiers of knowledge through its findings. Therefore serves as a source of data/material to those scholars who may be interested in further studies in this area.
Empirically or practically, this study will be of immense benefits to government, security advisers, defense advisers, policy makers and politicians, Regional and International institutions like ECOWAS, AU, UN, IMF and WB etc.
The study is timely, because the process is ongoing.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Considering the relationship between the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and various threats to our National Security, the geographical size of the country dictates that the scope be narrowed down. Therefore, the reference point for the research shall be various security threats orchestrated in Kano State of Nigeria.
It is also worthy of note that the true scope covered by the work is the period of 1967 to 2014. The choice of 1967 as the starting point is informed by the fact that the Nigerian civil war contributed to the proliferation of SALW into the country. The oil boom of the ‘70s led to the misappropriation of National funds, while the economic recessions of the ‘80s was also accompanied by a steep rise in robbery, political terrorism and the industrialization of corruption in all spheres of daily National life.
Coupled with these, is the fact that the ‘70s conceded with the period when sub-regional integration within the framework of ECOWAS began to gain momentum. It is partly as a result of this that free trade was adopted, along with this free trade, came in trade in both legal and illegal items and contrabands, partly of which are SALW.
- RESEARCH METHODS
The study shall rely solely on both primary and secondary sources of data. The primary sources include personal interview and questionnaire. While the secondary sources are; journals, magazines, periodicals, academic publications, internet, etc.
The effort to acquire primary materials involved discussing question in a focus group to obtain the views of participants. The process of content analysis involve investigating, recording and analyzing past event with the view to discovering generalizations that were significant in understanding of the past and the present in order to predict and deal with the issue under consideration.
To this end, documented literature was relied on. Documented literature was a major instrument of research, which are deemed to be able to stand alone if the need arises.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
- NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT:- An increase in crime wave, crisis and violent conflicts, which endangers peoples lives and safety of property of a Nation.
- PROLIFERATION:- The sudden increase in the number or amount of something.
- SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS (SALW):- These are weapons that can be carried by a single person. Ranging from clubs, knives, and machetes. It also covers a wide range of weapons from pistol, machine guns and other firearms to grenades, portable anti-tank systems, anti-aircraft guns and mortars. The United Nation General Assembly defines “Small Arms and Light Weapons” as any portable lethal weapon that expels or launches, is designed to expel or launch, or may be readily converted to expel or launch a shot bullet or projectile by the action of an explosive (Heinrich, 2006).
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