Senate bill integrated NATFORCE into NATCOM – DG

Managing Director of NATFORCE, Dr. Baba Muhammed

Sept. 18 (THEWILL) – The Director General of the National Task Force on Interdiction of the Illegal Importation and Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition and Small Arms (NATFORCE), Dr Baba Muhammed, has clarified the controversy over the declaration of the task force as a security outfit.

THEWILL reported that the National Security Council ordered the dissolution of NATFORCE on Thursday, declaring its operation illegal.

Briefing journalists on the directive, Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola had advised the NATFORCE leadership to disband with immediate effect or risk being forcibly disbanded by security agencies.

Reacting to the directive, Muhammed explained on Saturday that NATFORCE had been incorporated into the National Commission since July, when the Senate passed the bill establishing NATCOM.

THEWILL recalls that the Senate in July passed the bill establishing the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NATCOM) and absorbed NATFORCE into the new Commission.

Muhammed, who recalled his efforts for the transformation of NATFORCE into NATCOM, maintained that the defunct security team remained non-existent

“I advocated the need for NATFORCE to transition to a Commission, NATCOM, in accordance with the provision which states that the functions of the body shall be in accordance with Article 24 of the Convention of the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS) on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons to which Nigeria is a signatory and which entered into force in 2009.

“I distance myself from NATFORCE and all of its operations after the Senate passed the NATCOM bill which has now automatically changed the name of NATFORCE to NATCOM,” he said.

He liked President Muhammadu Buhari; vice-president, Yemi Osibanjo; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; National Security Advisor, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and other key stakeholders, for providing an enabling environment for the successes recorded so far in the collective efforts towards the establishment of NATCOM.

Norman D. Briggs