A report from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation has revealed that the records of 178,459 AK-47 rifles, assorted rifles, pistols, other arms and ammunition have gone unaccounted for dating as far back as January 2020.
These findings are contained in the audit query document, AuGF/AR.2019/02, dated September 15, 2021. The document was signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, and has been sent to the clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Ojo.
It is expected to be investigated by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Account.
“Audit observed from the review of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition and Ammunition Register at the Armoury section that a total number of lost firearms as reported as at December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces,” the report said. “Out of this number, 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.”
The report noted that the failure of the police to account for the missing arms violated paragraph 2603 of the Financial Regulations which stipulated that “the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occur shall report immediately to the head of department or unit but not later than three (3) days, by the fastest means possible if the loss occurs away from headquarters.”
The report recommended the prosecution of some police officers by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over conversion of arms and ammunition for illegal use, adding that the police had spent about N3.2 million on payment for award of contracts without providing evidence of project execution.
The report also accused the police of failing to give comprehensive details of unserviceable weapons, fearing that such could fall into some authorised hands for illegal use.
The report further mentioned the failure of the police force to present formal reports on the reportedly missing firearms.
“Records obtained from force armament at the 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 number of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019″ the report disclosed.
No value for the missing arms was declared as the report pointed out that documents concerning their purchase were not presented for examination.
Mr Aghughu pegged this on the weak internal control system of the Nigeria Police Force Armament.
The report also revealed that the available arms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters, upon physical inspection, were unfit for use due to poor maintenance.
“Several numbers of firearms from the review of Arm Issue Register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition obtained from Force Armament, Force headquarters for various States Commands, Formations, Zonal offices, Training Institutions, squadrons and physical inspection of firearms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters have become unserviceable and dysfunctional,” added the report .[PG]
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