Weapons Technology and Internal Security Provisioning in Nigeria
The re-emergence of civilian rule in Nigeria in May 1999 was accompanied by increasing internal security (IS) challenges which have been limiting internal security provisioning (ISP) in Nigeria. Some of the IS challenges include armed robbery, kidnapping, oil bunkering, ethno-religious conflicts, and terrorism. These crimes have been mostly aided by small arms and light weapons (SALW). It was perceived that while much attention is focussed on external sources, internal sourcing of SALW, through clandestine acquisition and application of weapons technology (WT), couples with inadequate regulation of local fabrication and circulation of SALW to aid rising IS challenges in Nigeria. The study therefore investigated the contribution of applied WT to ISP in Nigeria, focussing on the former Eastern Region of Nigeria.
The study adopted triangulation design. The target population for investigation was 10,224,161 people (based on 2006 National Population Census) drawn from five selected states of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, who were within the age range of 20 to 79 years. Purposive sampling technique was adopted to select five of the states (Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Imo, and Rivers) because of prevalence of the investigated problem. The sample size of 2,800 respondents was determined, using purposive sampling. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were adopted for collecting qualitative data. A validated questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients for the constructs in the questionnaire were: WT (0.727) and ISP (0.604). The response rate was 66.5%. The quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while the qualitative data were content-analysed.
Findings from quantitative data revealed that illegal local fabrication of weapons significantly contributed to weapons proliferation in Nigeria (R2=0.022, p˂0.05) and WT significantly affected ISP in Nigeria (R2=0.010, p˂0.05). Findings from qualitative data revealed that the government and people of Nigeria possessed assorted WT, acquired through collaboration with foreign weapons industries, reverse engineering, and mentorship, and applied in fabricating high-grade weapons. People of different social statuses were engaged in illicit fabrication of weapons. Illicit fabrication and racketeering of SALW were male-dominated; the IS condition of Nigeria tangibly determined who got involved in the acts. The government applied multiple strategies like legal prohibition, arrest, prosecution, and punishment of convicts to regulate WT and weapons, but has often precluded identifying with, co-opting, and upgrading local fabricators of weapons in Nigeria.
The study concluded that illegal possession and application of WT constituted a high-risk factor to ISP in Nigeria. The study recommended improved regulation of WT and SALW for improvement of ISP in Nigeria. Investigation for regulation of WT and weapons should include every category of people in the society, with emphases on the male gender. In addition to the strategies applied for regulating WT in the country, the government should consider careful identification and co-option of the local fabricators of weapons, upgrading their operational platforms through training and equipment, and employing them for improvement of Nigeria’s local technology base and armament supplies.
Keywords: Internal security, Internal security management, Internal security provisioning, Security, Weapons technology
1.1 Background to the Study
Technical know-how for construction of weapons, either by means of handcrafting or through industrial production, is the most significant cause of massive availability and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the world. The latter inversely correlates with internal security (IS) of most countries. As weapons technologies (WTs) increase in sophistication and circulation, so do the production and circulation of SALW and their ammunitions to and fro “legitimate” and “illegitimate” handlers. Thus, development, improvement, dispersal, and use of WTs have remained double-edged swords: The resultant weapons often simultaneously provide security and insecurity, across human societies. As weapons are used to protect lives and properties, and to ensure safe environments for people to live and function in, so are they sometimes used to destabilize the society, making it unsafe for human habitation and functionality. The people in possession of WTs and their products at any time often strongly determine the roles that WTs and weapons play in the society: While “legitimate” possessors may use them to protect the society and its elements, “illegitimate” possessors often use them to cause havoc in the society (Okafor, Okeke & Aniche, 2012; Chuma-Okoro, 2011).
Since the earliest incidence of WTs and crafting in human societies, weapons (especially SALW) have often been handled by “legitimate” and “illegitimate” users. All efforts made by state authorities to regulate possession and use of WTs and weapons have often been tangibly undermined. In some societies, circulation of WTs and weapons has been very minimal while in many others, it has been very severe (Edeko, 2011; Small Arms Survey, 2007). With only a few countries (including but not limited to Britain, China, and France) being able to reasonably control indiscriminate circulation of WTs and weapons, only the said few have been able to achieve relative IS and peace that is reasonable; such countries mainly include the developed countries of the world. The developing countries like most of the Asian and African countries often face lots of violent internal conflicts and crises emanating from inadequate regulation of WTs and weapons (Edeko, 2011; Abdel-Fatau, 2004).
In this era of highly globalised world, the Internet and the associated social media have often been used to circumvent the regulation of WTs more than ever before. Massive transmission of information through the Internet and the social media have unduly enhanced circulation of WTs thereby preventing them from being exclusive preserves of the military industry and government security agencies. With the Internet, any technical enthusiast can now easily access blueprints of weapons building or related resource documents. In addition to that, interested person(s) can receive technical supports from many online sources. With these factors in place, local craftsmen now have the opportunity of improving on their skills of craft-production of weapons. Also, opportunities now exist for them to try out newer methods of fabrication of their regular and ‘newer’ weapons. Consequently, interested craftsmen everywhere in the world have either learnt, or developed their already acquired, art of weapons fabrication and have been producing SALW for various reasons and purposes (Onuoha, 2006 cited in Edeko, 2011). This situation has progressively contributed to geometric rise in IS challenges, which have often been underreported, for many countries (Small Arms Survey, 2007).