Nigeria: National Small Arms and Light Weapons Survey


This report documents the findings of the first ever national assessment of small arms prevalence and impacts in Nigeria. The National Small Arms and Light Weapons Survey (NSALWS), implemented in 2016 by Nigeria’s Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM), was conducted to better understand the prevalence, proliferation, perception, use and impacts of small arms in Nigeria. The Small Arms Survey supported PRESCOM on survey methodology and analysis, and with the provision of training on survey methods specific to small arms.

Nigeria: National Small Arms and Light Weapons Survey reveals that, at the time of the survey, Nigerians considered firearms-fueled armed violence a significant problem, although variations in threat perceptions show that some regions and communities were more affected than others. The survey also found that Nigerians did not feel the need to own weapons, and did not want one, even though security in their communities was poor. Furthermore, respondents felt that acquiring a firearm was difficult. While direct purchase was the most commonly reported source of small arms, the general public did not know exactly where firearms came from. Diversion and illicit supply, as well as craft production, also appeared to be important. Finally, based on survey responses, it is quite clear that Nigerians expected stronger efforts at arms control, including through civilian disarmament. They asserted that the most effective way to limit arms proliferation is to address structural conditions that cause poverty and insecurity.

By presenting these findings in context, the NSALWS establishes an important baseline for the future efforts to develop and propose appropriate evidence-based interventions, including new policies and programmes for firearms control in Nigeria, and to monitor future attitudes and experiences around small arms in the country.

Keywords: Household survey