The Nigerian president has warned that weapons and ammunition supplied to the Ukrainian government by Western countries have started to flow into West Africa, with many finding their way into the hands of terrorist groups in the Lake Chad basin region, situated where the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon meet.
In an official statement published on the website of the Nigerian president’s office weeks ago, President Muhammadu Buhari warned that “weapons used in the war in Ukraine are gradually leaking into the region,” and “urged more vigilance and tightening of security around borders” to limit the free flow increased arms, ammunition, and other weapons in the Lake Chad Basin.
During remarks delivered at the 16th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the president said that the Russo-Ukrainian war and other violent conflicts in the Sahel region of West Africa had helped intensify Boko Haram terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region, the Austrian newspaper Exxpress reported on December 27th.
“Weapons being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region,” the president began.
“Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and active war in Ukraine serve as important sources of weapons and fighters that strengthen the terrorist ranks in the Lake Chad region,” President Buhari said, adding that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons that have moved into the region “threaten the collective peace and security of the region.”
“There is, therefore, the urgent need for expedited collaborative actions by our border control agencies and other security services to stop the circulation of all illegal arms in the region,” he said.
Those who have criticized the stream of U.S. weapons and ammunition flowing into Ukraine have long drawn attention to the fact that there is no mechanism for tracking the arms once they enter the country, arguing that the complete lack of accountability grants endless opportunities from criminal gangs, organized crime, terrorists, and black-market arms dealers to exploit the situation.
Earlier this year, at the end of October, the Finnish government warned that western-supplied weapons meant for Ukrainian soldiers had started to make their way to European countries, where they were falling into the hands of criminals, Finland’s national public Yle broadcaster reported.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Finland’s national law enforcement agency noted that their intelligence suggests Western arms sent to Ukraine may have ended up in the position of criminals in Finland.
“We’ve seen signs of these weapons already finding their way to Finland,” NBI Detective Superintendent Christer Ahlgren said, adding that “weapons shipped [by various countries] to Ukraine have also been found in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.”