A report released on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows a growth in the number of countries supplying arms and weapons to Nigeria and Cameroon to aid their fight against Boko Haram. Canada has been found to be the top seller among those nations.
The report listed Canada as the world’s 13th-biggest arms exporter over the past five years. It was the 14th-biggest weapons exporter in the previous five-year period.
According to the list, Canada facilitated the sale of 40 armoured vehicles to Nigeria in 2013 and 2014. It wasn’t detailed if all came from private companies. Two of those companies were identified as the Streit Group and INKAS.
Founded in Canada in 1992, the Streit Group said it has sold at least 12,000 armoured vehicles worldwide, and just recently, Nigeria bought one of its Spartan armoured vehicles. On the other hand, INKAS, according to Peter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm institute, has sold light armoured patrol vehicles to Nigeria. The vehicles were produced from a plant located right in Nigeria.
While Wezeman did not condone Canada’s shipment of arms and weapons to Nigeria, he told The Globe and Mail, the North American country should at least be sensitive on dealings regarding the matter. He said Canada should ensure it “understands the risks involved in arms exports” and should try to help Nigeria to deal with Boko Haram “in a way that involves the minimum amount of violence needed.”
“Just allowing the supply of weapons is not enough,” he said, noting that it comes with a moral responsibility that the arms should not be used by the Nigerian government other than for the purpose it was bought.
Boko Haram is an Islamist terrorist movement based in north-east Nigeria. It is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon. The group had pledged formal allegiance to the ISIS Daesh in March 2015 and has killed over 5,000 civilians between July 2009 and June 2014, including at least 2,000 in the first half of 2014.