By Yekini Jimoh 

 

The Kogi State government has said that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons have caused plenty of pains and wreaked havoc which were being experienced currently across the length and breadth of the country.

The State’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, stated this, on Wednesday, at the “National Conference of the School of Management Studies, Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja,” which began, on Tuesday.

Jones noted that the conference’s theme: “Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) and state resilience in the 21st century,” was apt and timely due to the current insecurity bedevilling the nation.

He warned students and youths in the state against indulging in any act of criminality and arms proliferation, saying perpetrators will face the full wrath of the law.

“I sincerely hope that this conference will add value to existence and will also go a long way in proffering solutions to the challenges currently bedevilling our nation,” he said.

“But we are lucky and favoured in Kogi State to have a governor who has taken security as a call that must be obeyed, and he had ensured that in Kogi State, there is absolutely zero tolerance for crime and criminality.

“The administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello is ready to do all it takes to ensure the security of lives and property in Kogi State, and zero tolerance to arms proliferation.

“Whoever is caught in the act of crime and criminality in Kogi State will go to jail,” he said.

He noted that a student of Kogi Poly that was caught recently with a heavily loaded locally-made gun had already been sentenced to 8 years in jail, saying that was the way to go.

“Until and unless we make up our mind and execute sufficient political will to address this issue, insecurity will continue to linger in our nation.

“But I am happy that our state is very different now, which ordinarily was said to be the headquarters of crime in Nigeria before, but Governor Yahaya Bello has totally changed the narrative.

“So, this discussion here today should be a practical workshop that would proffer practical solutions to the challenges of insecurity facing our nation,” he said.

He commended the rector for making it easier for them at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, to sleep with their two eyes closed due to the kind of transformation that had taken place at Kogi Poly.

Earlier, the Kogi Poly Rector, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, noted that the memory bank of academic institutions in Nigeria is full of ugly accounts of SALWs-related tragedies and affronts which have vividly contradicted the very underlining philosophy of education.

He added that in many higher institutions including Kogi Poly, the crises of supremacy and territorial control among different cult groups have often fuelled social insecurity and academic instability.

He stressed that dangerous cult crises have seriously impeded on academic and peaceful wellbeing of both staff and students of many institutions.

Usman noted that the school management under his leadership had explored the 21st-century technology as proactive measures against insecurity which was apt and functional.

“Our efforts in combating the school infiltration of these illicit arms and weapons on our campus can be modestly described as aggressive and resolute.

“Our goal is to ensure progress in the areas of security development, with special focus on creating a safe learning environment through elimination of access to small arms and light weapons on our campus,” he said.

The rector stressed the need to take steps that would make the answers provided by the conference tenable, practical and goal-oriented.

He further urged the participants to contextualise the social importance of the current level of technology in addressing the current security challenges facing humanity.

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