Citation(s) from the literature library

Best, Shedrack Gaya and Dimieari Von Kemedi. In: Florquin and Berman, Eds. 2005 ‘Armed Groups and Conflict in Rivers and Plateau States, Nigeria - Small Arms Availability and Sources.’ Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns, and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region; Chapter 1, pp. 24-25. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 1 May

Relevant contents

Small Arms Availability and Sources

Several of the major weapon sources identified during the course of the
research are identified below:

- A number of small arms originate from other war-ravaged parts of the West African sub-region, particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia. Members of the Nigerian military have reportedly brought back arms from Sierra Leone, where they took part in ECOMOG (ECOWAS Monitoring Group) for resale after being redeployed back into the state.

- Armed group supporters within the oil industry or political parties and even members of the state government provided weapons or the funds and required contacts to buy them. Traditional leaders seeking protection from armed groups have also supplied weapons, including a local chief from Okrika who Ateke claims purchased weapons for the NDV.

- Weapons exchanged for stolen or bunkered oil are another major source. Illegal oil bunkering has reportedly been a significant source of revenue for both the NDPVF and the NDV.

- Weapons captured or seized from local stocks or bought from corrupt individuals also add to the armed group stockpiles. These include arms captured from (or sold by) the Nigeria Mobile Police and Nigerian army personnel; those captured or bought from Cameroonian soldiers stationed in the Bakassi peninsula (whose jurisdiction is disputed between Nigeria and Cameroon); and those purchased from ex-Nigerian soldiers also deployed to the same region.

- One group leader claims that arms are available from vessels moored just off the coast of Rivers state, and can be purchased by anybody who can afford them. Warri, the capital of Delta state, is also known as a major arms trafficking hub. Smugglers from Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, and Cameroon reportedly use speedboats to reach offshore ships and purchase guns that they then sell to their respective communities in Warri, where they are often trafficked elsewhere.

- While the presence of craft weapons among those surrendered in Port Harcourt provides evidence of the existence of an underground industry, there is little information available regarding products, production levels, or the quality and price of weapons. Today, Awka, the Anambra state capital, appears to be Nigeria's leading small arms craft manufacturing centre. There are also reports of Ghanaian gunsmiths travelling to Nigeria to train local blacksmiths in gun-making skills.

[NDPEHRD: Niger Delta Project for Environment, Human Rights and Development; NDV = Niger Delta Vigilante]

ID: Q5100

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