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SMALL AND LIGHT WEAPONS PROLIFERATION, VIOLENT CRIMES, AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Small arms and light weapons are becoming endemic in Nigeria, and the rate of accumulation is increasing with their concomitant destabilizing effect. The thesis of this paper is to examine the role small and light weapons proliferation play in promoting violent crime and how it affects national security in Nigeria. Small and light weapons of various shapes, sizes, and colours has featured predominantly in most violent crime in Nigeria. These weapons have been used by unpatriotic elements to maim, harm, and destroy lives and properties in the country. Presently, Nigeria is undergoing series of violent crime such as armed robbery, cultism, kidnapping, vandalism, armed conflict, drug trafficking, cattle rustling, arson, rampaging killer herdsmen, etc., in which small and light weapons play a decisive role. These security breaches have resulted to loss of lives, destruction of peoples’ homes, vandalization of business premises, and an increase in the number of displaced persons in the country. To check these problems, the paper recommended among other things that government should actively erect barriers to stem the flow of small arms into the country. Also, border surveillance should be strengthened, and sophisticated ICT and detective devices should be made available to law enforcement officers at the border. In addition, transparency and accountability should be taken into cognizance in the production and transfer of small arms, as well as weapons registration, to help stem the massive inflow and circulation of small arms throughout the country.
Keywords: arms proliferation, violent crimes, illicit drug trafficking, conflict, policing, militancy, national security