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Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) has indicted the police high command over alleged disappearance of about 178,459 different types of arms and ammunition in 2019.

The report, addressed to the Clerk to the National Assembly, dated September 15, 2021 and signed by the AuGF, Adolphus Aghughu, claimed that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition.

The report referenced AuGF/AR.2019/02 expressed concern over the development, since the missing arms could find their ways into wrong hands.

The report blamed the situation on alleged weaknesses in the internal control system at the Nigeria Police Force.

The disclosures are contained in pages 383 to 391 of the ‘Auditor General for the Federation report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended December 31 2019’.

The report reads in part: “In the event of any loss of stores, the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occurs shall report immediately to the head of department or unit but not later than three days, by the fastest means possible, if the loss occurs away from headquarters.

“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.

“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.

“Formal report on the loss of firearms through dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented for examination. Records obtained from force armament at 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 of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.

“The value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.”

The report continues: “Several number of firearms from the review of Arm Issue Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition obtained from Force Armament, Force headquarters for various state commands, formations, zonal offices, training institutions, squadrons and physical inspection of firearms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters have become unserviceable and dysfunctional.

“Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56,64 and 68 for the period under review.

“Similarly, returns were not submitted by some police training institutions and some formations, and physical verification of firearms and ammunition at the Force Armament, Force Headquarters showed large quantity of damaged and obsolete firearms which needed to be destroyed.”

The Guardian

By Joy

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