Insecurity: Defence Minister reaffirms ban on unauthorized use of camouflage

The Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, has reaffirmed the ban on unauthorised use of military camouflage, saying only the Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police Force, while on Joint Operation with the Military, are allowed by law to use military camouflage.

The minister’s call comes against the backdrop of an increase in the use of military camouflage by kidnappers, bandits, and other criminals who disguise themselves as military and paramilitary personnel to cause havoc in society.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Defence, Mr Henshaw Ogubike, while making this known in Abuja, said, “The present situation does not support the use of military camouflage by people who are not authorised or not personnel of DHQ.”

He said, “The criminals among us have had to take advantage of the military, police, and other security agencies’ gear to perpetrate crimes,” adding that “there is a need to streamline the personnel that are authorised to use the military camouflage.”

He said, “Government ban on other paramilitary agencies from using military camouflage was to bring sanity to the system and also as a way of checkmating criminal activities.”

Dr. Matawalle emphasised the readiness of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police to enforce the directive given by the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, regarding the immediate cessation of the use of camouflage uniforms by paramilitary agencies.

“The circular titled Observation on Proliferation in the Use of Camouflage Uniforms by Other Security Agencies in Nigeria,” personally signed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, mandated personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and the Federal Fire Service, among others, to discontinue the use of camouflage uniforms henceforth, following the directive issued by ONSA,” Matawalle said.

Accordingly, he stated that “the use of camouflage uniforms by various security agencies other than the Armed Forces, namely, the Army, Navy, and Air Force, remains banned.”

He, however, gave an exception to its use by the Nigerian Police Force, which he said they can only use when on joint operations with the military.

He said the enforcement of the ban becomes imperative in view of the security implications and concerns raised by the clamour of duplicity and proliferation in the country.

Emphasising the importance of this caution, the minister said, “The measure is aimed at checkmating crime rate in Nigeria, pointing out that “if we identify those that are authorised to use the camouflage, we can quickly differentiate them from criminals that intend to confuse us.”

Dr. Matawalle said that henceforth, extant laws guiding the use of camouflage uniforms in Nigeria would be strictly enforced.

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