The federal government has, as part of broad measures to stem the tide of insecurity in the country, banned the unauthorised acquisition of firearms, drones and broadcast equipment.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, during the General Security Appraisal Committee Meeting at the Office of NSA (ONSA) in Abuja.
Mr Monguno stressed that the abuse of social media platforms in addition to the illicit acquisition of controlled items by none state actors have become the major source of insecurity in the country.
To this end, he warned those already in possession of these unauthorised items to surrender them to the appropriate authorities in order to avoid the full wrath the law.
“…members of the public are sternly warned against illicit acquisition of controlled items such as firearms, remotely piloted aircraft (drones) and broadcast equipment amongst others. Accordingly, those with such illegally acquired controlled items are hereby advised to voluntarily surrender them to the appropriate security agencies,” he said.
The NSA was flanked by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi; and Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency (CDI), Mohammed Usman and other representatives of security agencies.
He cited the recent violence in Benue, Plateau, Zamfara and Kaduna States as a worrying cases of insecurity across the country fuelled by abuse of social media platforms through fake news, hate speech and incitement as well as illegal possession of controlled items.
Against this backdrop, Mr Monguno said the federal government is taking all necessary measures to address the underlying unresolved conflicts and bring all perpetrators to justice.
He said: “The federal government is concerned that social media and other communication platforms are now used to exacerbate tension through rumour, hate speech and incitement. Nigerians are reminded that all laws and regulations against hate speech and incitement will be fully enforced to ensure peace, security and freedom for all Nigerians wherever they chose to live.
“In a bid to address these spates of civil disturbances, heads of security agencies have reviewed the internal security situation and resolved to take all necessary measures within the law to curb this violence.”
The NSA stressed that while the government acknowledged the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression and association, “it is imperative to note that deliberate acts which directly or indirectly lead to wanton loss of lives and destruction of properties constitute heinous crimes, which will not be tolerated and will be appropriately dealt with in accordance to the law”.
He urged Nigerians to at all times interrogate news and information before broadcasting or sharing with others and consider if it is: factual, logical, promote national interest and peaceful coexistence.
Speaking further, Mr Monguno reminded all traditional leaders, religious leaders, Non-Governmental Organisations and citizens of their role in developing community led Early Warning Systems at local levels.
In order to further ensure security of persons and confidentiality of reports by citizens, he said that ONSA has activated its Crisis Response Platform for anonymous reporting of suspicious activities and security incidents.
He advised all citizens to send anonymous reports through SMS to the short code that will be provided for early response.