A report by the Auditor General of the Federation for 2019 says that about 178,459 different types of arms and ammunition got missing from the Police armory without being reported in 2019.
It also says the police high command failed to keep a comprehensive record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunitions.
This, it says, could lead to conversion of firearms for illegal use.
The disclosures are contained in pages 383 to 391 of the “Auditor General for the Federation 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”.
Referenced AuGF/AR.2019/02 and addressed to the Clerk to the National Assembly, the report September 15, 2021 report was signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu.
The Auditor General’s letter conveying the report to the National Assembly, as required by law, reads in part, “In accordance with section 85(2) and (4) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I have the pleasure to submit to the National Assembly, two copies of the Auditor General for the Federation’s annual report on the non-compliance/internal weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December, 2019”.
The action of the Police Force, the report says, violates paragraph 2603 of the Financial Regulations.
It says, “In the event of any loss of stores, the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occur shall report immediately to the head of department or unit but not later than three days, by the fastest means possible if the loss occurs away from headquarters.”
“Audit observed from the review of Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition and Ammunition Register at the Armoury section that a 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, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations which could not be accounted for as at January 2020.
“Formal report on the loss of firearms through dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores) were not presented for examination.
“Records obtained from force armament at the Force headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas, schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total number of forty six (46) missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019.
“The value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.
“The above anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system at the Nigeria Police Force Armament.”
The report says there was the risk of mishandling of firearms/firearms getting to the wrong hands, conversion of firearms to illegal use and loss of government funds.
It adds, “Several numbers of firearms from the review of Arm Issue Register, monthly returns of arms and ammunitions obtained from Force Armament, Force headquarters for various States Commands, Formations, Zonal offices, Training Institutions, squadrons and physical inspection of firearms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters have become unserviceable and dysfunctional.
“Records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were not produced for examinations, and there were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56,64 and 68 for the period under review.
“Similarly, returns were not submitted by some Police Training Institutions and some Formations, and Physical verification of firearms and ammunition at the Force Armament, Force Headquarters showed large quantity of damaged and obsolete firearms which needed to be destroyed.
“The damaged and obsolete firearms and ammunition should be treated in line with Financial Regulations 2618 which requires the destruction to be carried out in such a manner as to render the firearms unusable for their original purpose.”