Nigeria’s police cannot account for thousands of firearms, including 88,078 AK-47 rifles, an audit report published by the auditor general of the federation on Tuesday has shown.
The report of missing firearms creates concern in a country fighting growing insecurity from Islamist insurgents in the northeast and armed kidnappings and banditry in the north and northwest.
In his latest report published on its website and covering the period to December 2019, Auditor General Adolphus Aghughu said that a review of arms movement from police armouries in Nigeria showed several weapons were missing and unaccounted for.
“The 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,” the report said.
It did not specify whether the figures were for 2018 alone or over a period up to that time. There was a risk the firearms could get into the wrong hands or used for illegal activities, said the report.
The auditor general’s report is before a joint public accounts committee of Senate and Lower House, which will scrutinise it, invite the police to respond and give recommendations.
The constitution empowers the auditor general to conduct audit checks on all government departments.
SBM Intelligence said in a report in October 2020 that the proliferation of small arms and ammunitions was driving the increasing violence in Nigeria, with civilian non-state actors believed to possess more small arms than law enforcement agents.
Reuters News Agency reports that a written request for comments from the police was not replied to.