Defence Intelligence Agency says Scavengers collect items for explosives, and they need to be monitored

The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) has raised an alarm of scavengers collecting items used for locally-manufactured improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 

Commodore Friday Okolie who represented the agency at a public hearing organized by

the house of representatives committee on national security and intelligence, on the consideration of four security bills,

disclosed that the items used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) consist of various components

such as initiator, switch, main charge, power surge and container. 

Okolie said;

“The elements used locally to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) consist of various components

such as initiator, switch, main charge, power surge and container. It may be further enclosed with

additional enhancement such as nails, glasses or metal fragments designed to increase

the amount of shrapnel propelled by the explosion.

He said the collection of these items are mostly by scavengers who move around from one location to another in residential

and business premises, sourcing and collecting discarded items, such as scrap metals, plastic,

beverage cans, metals, among others, from refuse dumps and bins.

In addition, he said there is no scrutinization of their activities by any authority. The agency considers that the bill gives more power

to law enforcement agencies to monitor the activities of scavengers’ movement and the use of scrap metals and

other materials they may collect and sell for the usage of manufacturing IEDs.

The DIA representative also called for the regulation of activities of blacksmiths who according to him

can produce assorted and sophisticated weapons, including rifles, revolvers and IEDs.

Okolie also said;

“The cautionary attachment to blacksmith skills, as well as the traditional weapons manufactured for hunting,

ceremonial and ornamental purposes, has remained the symbol of power and prestige in

some traditional communities in Nigeria,” he said.

“However, in recent times, blacksmiths have advanced their skills and now possess the capability to manufacture

assorted and sophisticated rifles such as AK-47, revolvers, pistols, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), among others.

“This development has created the need to identify, monitor and regulate their activities; thus, the need to talent-hunt

for blacksmiths whose integration could be into the defence industrial cooperation (DICON) to enable

all defence industry complex exploit their talents.

He also revealed that the high demand and use of fertilizers to produce IEDs have led to the establishment of

illegal fertilizer companies, especially in the northern part of the country. 

Furthermore, Okolie added;

“Surprisingly, fertilizers are being sold to unscrupulous persons who use the chemical substance locally

as explosive materials to manufacture IEDs capable of destroying, incapacitation and massive loss of lives. 

“These underscores the bill to cover all activities of companies and other business enterprises buying and selling

fertilizer, hydrogen peroxide and other components that can be used as explosive materials in IEDs.

“The bill would need to further consider the combination and quantity of these materials to be sold,

restricted, regulated and monitored.”

By Taiyelolu A

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