Over 178,000 police arms, ammunition unaccounted for nationwide –Audit reports

The office of Auditor General of the Federation (oAuGF), has recommended the prosecution of some police officers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over conversion of arms and ammunition for illegal use.

The recommendation was contained in the audit queries with Ref. No: AuGF/AR.2019/02, dated September 15, 2021 and signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, which was sent to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Architect Amos Ojo and expected to be investigated by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Account, chaired by Hon. Oluwole Oke.

According to the report, no fewer than 178,459 different types of arms and ammunition went missing from the police armoury in the 2019 fiscal year, without any trace or formal report on their whereabouts.

As encapsulated in the report, 88,078 AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols from different formations nationwide could not be accounted for as at January 2020.

The oAuGF report also accused authorities of Nigeria Police Force of lack of comprehensive details of unserviceable weapons, fearing that such could fall into some unauthorised hands for illegal use.

According to the reports, “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 reports on the loss of firearms through duly 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 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.

“Several numbers of firearms from the review of Arm Issue Register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition 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 quantities 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.”

The Auditor General also queried the Police Force hierarchy for expending the sum of N3,271,439,688:30 as payment for award of contracts above approval threshold without evidence of project execution.

It added that 10 contracts worth N1,136,715,200 were awarded to a single proprietor in the name of different companies with details of the three companies as the same.

“The three companies did not disclose their relationship in accordance with the fundamental principles of procurement as required by extant regulations”, it stated.

The report also indicted the Police Force for paying the sum of N924.985 million for 11 contracts involving construction of three units of Gunshot Spotter System, supply of 50 units of Ballistic Roller Trolley and 20 units of Ballistic Mobile Surveillance House in some selected Commands and Formations without evidence of project execution.

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