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After Killing Of Presidential Military Guards In Abuja, Nigerian Senate Passes Bill To Check Proliferation Of Weapons

July 26, 2022

The passage of the National Commission Against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2022, followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on National Security and Intelligence.


The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill to establish the National Commission for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.

 

The passage of the National Commission Against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2022, followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on National Security and Intelligence.

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The bill is a consolidation of three bills - two private-member bills and one from the Executive arm of the government against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country, Dr. Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to the Senate President disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

 

The bills are: The Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020(SB. 283); The Nigerian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (SB. 513); and The National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (SB. 794).

 

The three bills after scaling the second reading, respectively, in the Senate, were all referred to the Committee on National Security and Intelligence for further legislative work.

 

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (All Progressives Congress - Sokoto East), in a presentation on the floor, said the three bills seek to provide for the establishment of a government body that will be saddled with combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

 

According to him, the functions of the body shall be in line with Article 24 of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons which came into force in 2009.

 

The lawmaker added that the Committee on National Security and Intelligence resolved to consolidate the three bills into one.

 

He explained that doing so would adequately cater for the establishment of a Commission to implement measures aimed at eradicating illicit arms.

 

Gobir noted that establishing a Commission against the proliferation of weapons stemmed from the need to immediately address the nation's present state of insecurity.   

 

The National Commission Against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (Establishment) Bill, 2022, was passed by the Senate, after a clause-by-clause consideration of the Committee's report by the Committee of the Whole.

The proliferation of firearms is a major issue in Nigeria considering the worsening insecurity in the country.

In December 2020, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted a container loaded with firearms and ammunition at the Tin Can port in Lagos which were said to be illegal.

In 2016, a report done by the United Nations said Nigeria accounted for 350 million or 70 per cent of an estimated 500 million illegal arms circulating in West Africa.

The arms proliferation is believed to be fuelling terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and robberies across the country.

For instance, some Nigerian Army personnel attached to the Guards Brigade lost their lives in an ambush by terrorists in Abuja on Monday.

 

SaharaReporters earlier reported that a Captain of the Nigerian Army and two soldiers were killed by terrorists in the Bwari area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

 

The deceased officers, who were attached to the Presidential Guards Brigade, were reportedly ambushed after they visited the Nigeria Law School in Bwari following a distress call from the authorities of the school.

 

There have been hints that terrorists are planning to attack the Nigerian Law School in Abuja, the Central Mosque, other worship centres and security formations in the FCT.

 

This comes barely a month after terrorists who later identified themselves as members of the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre in the nation’s capital, releasing hundreds of inmates including Boko Haram fighters.

On Monday, the Federal Ministry of Education ordered the immediate closure of the Federal Government College, Kwali, in the Kwali Area Council of the FCT.

It was gathered that the closure of the school came after a security breach on Sheda and Lambata villages and suburbs of Kwali Area Council which also threatened FGC Kwali.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported that the Nigerian Government, through the Federal Ministry of Education, had ordered the closure of all Federal Government Colleges (FGCs) in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja due to rising insecurity.

The government directed the immediate evacuation of the students because of the threat to their lives, security and well-being, SaharaReporters learnt on Monday.

It was learnt that on Sunday night, a yet-to-be-verified report trended on social media indicating that there were heavy shootings in Federal Government College (FGC), Kwali, Abuja, and that parents rushed to the school to ascertain the safety of their children and possibly return home with them until calm was restored.

When contacted by SaharaReporters for comments and clarification on Monday, the Federal Ministry of Education said it would release a statement on the issue later in the day.

However, in a letter signed on Monday by the Ministry Director Press and Public Relations, Ben. Bem Goong, the Minister noted that the closure became necessary because of the insecurity in the area

 

 He added that the timely intervention of security agencies saved the situation.

In the letter, the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu also directed that arrangements should be made for final-year students to conclude their NECO (National Examination Council).

"The Minister also directed Principals of Unity Colleges across the country to liaise with security Agencies within their jurisdictions in order to forestall any security breach in our schools," the statement said.

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Insecurity