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The National Security Council on Thursday declared the National Task Force on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, Chemical and Pipeline Vandalism, illegal.
The council, consequently, ordered the body to disband itself or face the wrath of the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the council also expressed satisfaction with the nation’s security agencies’ performance in tackling security challenges.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed these to journalists after a meeting of the council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The PUNCH reported that the upper legislative chamber had in July passed into law a bill establishing the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, with NATFORCE being one of its components.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass its version of the law upon resumption from recess later in September 2022.
However, security experts have rejected the Senate’s inclusion of NATFORCE in the new Act, urging the lawmakers to expunge NATFORCE from the bill when harmonising both versions.
Aregbesola, speaking on the security agencies’ performance said, “The council received briefings from all security chiefs and the council is very satisfied with the performances of all our security chiefs; the military, the police and other security agencies. We are happy with their performance and the gains recorded so far.
“We are moving to the phase of consolidation of all those gains, such that by December, as ordered by the Chairman of the Council, the President, which he has said to all Nigerians before now, that we’ll put, essentially, most of the challenges of banditry particularly, insurgency, kidnapping for ransom, criminalities of that nature, far behind us.
“We are equally pleased with the performance of the Nigeria Police on the elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun, which elections have demonstrated our commitment to democracy and expression of the will of the people at the polls.”
Speaking on NATFORCE, the minister said, “Equally of concern is the presence of some illegal outfits that impersonate legitimate security agencies. Of particular concern is a body called the National Task Force on Illegal Importation of Goods, Small Arms and what have you, but the short name for it is NATFORCE.
“The council declares that body an illegal organisation; it should just simply disband itself because the council has ordered all security agencies to enforce the disbandment of that body and other such bodies that operate illegally without any force of law.”
Fielding questions on the remaining passengers kidnapped in the March 28 attack on a Kaduna-bound train who are still in the terrorists’ den, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, said no effort would be spared to rescue them alive.
He said the arrest of the key negotiator, Tukur Mamu, would not hinder negotiations as other bodies are negotiating to ensure their safe release.