If I am the Inspector General of Nigerian Police

If I am the Inspector General of Nigerian Police, I will know the exact number of firearms belonging to the police, the exact number in every state, division, or unit, and the particular officer to whom a firearm was checked out, all in real time. Yes, with the click of a mouse, I will know who has what and the location. I can even call the officer and tell him the particular firearm in his possession. I will deploy a simple Inventory Control System.

Inventory control is a process for keeping track of objects or materials. Modern inventory control systems rely upon barcodes, and potentially RFID tags, to provide automatic identification of inventory objects. Inventory objects could include any kind of physical asset: merchandise, consumables, fixed assets, circulating tools, library books, or capital equipment; and in my own case, the Nigerian Police firearms.

To record an inventory transaction, the system uses a barcode scanner or RFID reader to automatically identify the inventory object, and then collects additional information from the operators via fixed terminals (workstations), or mobile computers. Real time inventory control systems use wireless, mobile terminals to record inventory transactions at the moment they occur. A wireless LAN (Local Area Network) transmits the transaction information to a central database.

Everyday, as the officers check out firearms for the day, the barcode on the firearms will be scanned against their number so I know who has what. On their return from duty, the firearms will be checked in so I know they are in the armory. Every Monday, the firearms in every state and division will be scanned and transmitted to my control database. This will take about one hour depending on the quantity; it will take about an hour to scan three thousand firearms.

No longer will they use notebooks to keep record of who has possession of the firearms. While it will take one minute to scan out ten firearms to ten officers, it will take not less than 30 minutes to do same using notebook! No longer will my men lease their arms to criminals; because I will know using RFID if the firearm leaves a predetermined vicinity of their patrol vehicle. No longer will the arms cross state boundaries to be used in another state to perpetrate crime; RFID will take care of that.

If I am the Inspector General of Nigerian Police, I know exactly how to control my firearms inventory in real time so they will not fall into wrong hands. And if my officer is the wrong hand, I will know.

Emeka Maduewesi is a dual-qualified (Nigeria and California) international lawyer with cross-border intellectual property and technology transactions, licensing, regulatory, complex commercial litigation and antitrust experience. He has a Masters Degree in Intellectual Property and Technology Law from the University of San Francisco School of Law, San Francisco, California. He is the Publisher of and