Reps propose commission to check small arms proliferation

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By Lawan Hamidu

A bill to establish a National Commission on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapon in Nigeria has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

This is a step forwards towards domestication of ECOWAS Protocol aimed at reducing the proliferation of arms and weapons in the region.

Leading debate before the passage, Muhammad Tahir Munguno, from Borno State, attributed most of the security challenges facing Nigeria and other West African Nations to the illegal movement and acquisition of small arms and light weapons.

“It is also beyond dispute that the proliferation of small weapons and light arms abound beyond the possession of the legally licensed owners, this is directly related to the rise in violence across the country in diverse forms which is worrisome, hence the need to have a legal move with vigor aimed at mopping up the avalanche of small arms from Non-State actors so that peace can be attained.” Monguno added.

Contributing, Nkiruka Onyejeocha from Abia State said the commission, when established would mop up all the arms and weapons illegally acquired, to make the country more secure and safer.

She said “The proliferation of these arms for the high indices is the cause of robbery, kidnapping and other social vices.

Despite the desire of the police to rid such arms from individuals in the recent past; they seemed to be handicapped by the outcry of citizens with licensed weapons to protect their families and communities against criminals.”

In their arguments, Muhammad Umar Bago from Niger State and Aminu Sulaiman from Kano State among others, suggested strengthening of police and other security agencies to discharge their responsibility effectively.

“If the Police is overwhelmed they can be assisted through Legislation for additional manpower, appropriation or any other assistance within the purview of the Legislation.” they argued.