The re-emergence of civilian rule in Nigeria in May 1999 was accompanied by increasing internal security (IS) challenges which have been limiting internal security provisioning (ISP) in Nigeria.  Some of the IS challenges include armed robbery, kidnapping, oil bunkering, ethno-religious conflicts, and terrorism.  These crimes have been mostly aided by small arms and light weapons (SALW).  It was perceived that while much attention is focussed on external sources, internal sourcing of SALW, through clandestine acquisition and application of weapons technology (WT), couples with inadequate regulation of local fabrication and circulation of SALW to aid rising IS challenges in Nigeria.  The study therefore investigated the contribution of applied WT to ISP in Nigeria, focussing on the former Eastern Region of Nigeria.

The study adopted triangulation design. The target population for investigation was 10,224,161 people (based on 2006 National Population Census) drawn from five selected states of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, who were within the age range of 20 to 79 years. Purposive sampling technique was adopted to select five of the states (Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Imo, and Rivers) because of prevalence of the investigated problem.  The sample size of 2,800 respondents was determined, using purposive sampling. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were adopted for collecting qualitative data. A validated questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients for the constructs in the questionnaire were: WT (0.727) and ISP (0.604). The response rate was 66.5%.  The quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while the qualitative data were content-analysed.

Findings from quantitative data revealed that illegal local fabrication of weapons significantly contributed to weapons proliferation in Nigeria (R2=0.022, p˂0.05) and WT significantly affected ISP in Nigeria (R2=0.010, p˂0.05).  Findings from qualitative data revealed that the government and people of Nigeria possessed assorted WT, acquired through collaboration with foreign weapons industries, reverse engineering, and mentorship, and applied in fabricating high-grade weapons.  People of different social statuses were engaged in illicit fabrication of weapons.  Illicit fabrication and racketeering of SALW were male-dominated; the IS condition of Nigeria tangibly determined who got involved in the acts.  The government applied multiple strategies like legal prohibition, arrest, prosecution, and punishment of convicts to regulate WT and weapons, but has often precluded identifying with, co-opting, and upgrading local fabricators of weapons in Nigeria.

The study concluded that illegal possession and application of WT constituted a high-risk factor to ISP in Nigeria.  The study recommended improved regulation of WT and SALW for improvement of ISP in Nigeria. Investigation for regulation of WT and weapons should include every category of people in the society, with emphases on the male gender. In addition to the strategies applied for regulating WT in the country, the government should consider careful identification and co-option of the local fabricators of weapons, upgrading their operational platforms through training and equipment, and employing them for improvement of Nigeria’s local technology base and armament supplies.

Keywords:     Internal security, Internal security management, Internal security provisioning, Security, Weapons technology

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