The Nigerian House of Representatives has decided to investigate the Nigeria Police Force’s alleged failure to account for 178,459 firearms as of January 2020.

The move comes in response to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation issuing audit queries against the NPF.

According to one of the eight queries issued against the NPF by the office, by the end of 2019, the Force Headquarters could not account for 178,459 firearms, of which 88,078 were AK-47 rifles.

The questions appear in the ‘Auditor-General of the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019’.

The report was presented to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, by the Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts are looking into the issues.

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The House mandated an ad hoc committee to “establish the veracity of those allegations and conduct due diligence of the control processes of the Nigeria Police Force’s armoury; and report back to the House within four weeks” during plenary on Thursday.

The House also demanded that Usman Baba, the Inspector-General of Police, take immediate action to apprehend those responsible for the NPF’s armoury being depleted.

Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader, had introduced a motion of urgent public importance titled “Need to investigate the alleged missing firearms and ammunition of the Nigeria Police.”

The House was aware of the report’s findings that the police high command failed to keep track of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition due to non-compliance with the NPF’s internal control system, according to Okechukwu.

“The House is concerned that the value of the stolen firearms cannot be determined because no document relating to their acquisition cost was presented for inspection,” he said.

“The House is concerned that the missing arms may have ended up in the wrong hands due to the country’s deteriorating security, kidnapping, and banditry.”

“The House also recognizes that Nigeria has not fought a war in recent years.”

The Auditor-General stated in a query titled “Loss of Firearms and Ammunition” that “the total number of lost firearms as reported as of December 2018 stood at 178,459,” based on a review of the arms movement register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition, and the ammunition register at the Armoury Section.”

“Of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, and 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across various police formations could not be accounted for as of January 2020,” it continued. Formal reports on the loss of firearms, such as Treasury Form 146 (Loss of Stores), were not presented for inspection.

“Records obtained from Force Armament at the Force headquarters revealed that 21 Police Mobile Force Squadrons in Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearms, whereas a schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF revealed a total of 46 missing arms between 2000 and February 2019, and the value of the lost firearms could not be determined because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.”

The “anomalies” were attributed to “weaknesses in the internal control system at the Nigeria Police Force Armament,” according to the office.

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