- The Senate has said there would be a ban on the illegal bearing of firearms across Nigeria
- A bill that would impose a penalty for the bearers on Tuesday, February 16, passed the second reading at the Senate
- The bill is sponsored by the senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani
The bearing of illegal firearms in Nigeria may soon be criminalised if a bill seeking to impose stiffer penalties on the bearers finally becomes law.
Legit.ng reports that the bill entitled firearms act CAP F28 LFN 2004 (amendment) bill 2021, passed second reading at the Senate on Tuesday, February 16.
The bill is being sponsored by the senator representing Kaduna Central at the upper legislative chamber, Uba Sani, and provides for the destruction of firearms imported illegally into the country or in the possession of individuals without valid licences.
Sani, while moving the motion during a plenary, said firearms illegally imported into the country should be destroyed.
He said the main aim of the proposed amendments is to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms and bring the existing law in line with global best practices.
The lawmaker also noted that the amendment would effectively address some of the security challenges currently plaguing Nigeria.
"In my lead debate on the bill, I painted a grim picture of illicit small arms and light weapons build-up in Nigeria and its devastating effect on our communities. Analysts estimate that out of the 500 million weapons that may be circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70% of such weapons, can be found in Nigeria.
"The insecurity situation in Nigeria has worsened due to the proliferation of illegal weapons as a result of spill-over effects of the crises in Libya and Mali as well as the unresolved internal conflicts in different parts of the country such as the northeast, Niger Delta and other regions. We, therefore, need legislation that will provide for stringent punishments to deter perpetrators of these illegalities.
"I thank the Senate president and my distinguished colleagues for taking a keen interest in the bill and supporting it. The bill is an important and strategic step towards degrading criminal elements in our communities and stabilizing the nation."
Speaking after Sani's presentation, the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan said there is a need to curb the proliferation of illegal firearms as this would make the country safe.
The bill was later referred to the committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters for further legislative action.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state said herdsmen are not to be blamed for bearing firearms.
It was reported that the governor said they are only protecting themselves against cattle rustlers who attack, kill and take away their possessions.
The governor spoke as a special guest of honour at the launch of the inaugural edition of the Bauchi correspondents’ chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)’s magazine titled ‘Correspondents’ Watch” on Thursday, February 11.
In a related report, the Bauchi state government gave an explanation on the statement of Governor Mohammed justifying Fulani herders carrying AK-47 for self-defence.
In a statement on Sunday, February 14, Muktar Gidado, a senior special assistant on media, said the comment of the principal was misunderstood.
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.