Reps pass bill on Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria

The House of Representatives Wednesday passed through second Reading a bill establishing the National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.

The bill sponsored by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Hon. Nnena Elendu- Ukeje (PDP Abia) was referred to the House committee on National Security and Intelligence for further legislative action.

According to the bill, the Commission amongst other things “shall be charged with the responsibility of combating illicit trafficking of arms by strengthening laws and regulations, reinforcing operational capacity and improving on the system in tracing arms flow.”

It will also promote “removal of arms from society through collection, storage, destruction, management and stockpiling of small arms and light weapons;

“Control the manufacture and register small arms and light weapons including those to be used in Peace Keeping operations, update its register and transmit same to ECOWAS, AU, UN.

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Elendu- Ukeje, who took the argument for the passage of the bill, said: “What used to be a fringe conversation has become mainstream conversation about Nigeria’s insecurity concerns are highlighted on a daily basis as communal conflicts , religious crises, insurrection, terrorism, insurgency, militancy, revolt, electoral violence, robbery, cross border smuggling, kidnapping, sexual violence, domestic violence and all other threats as highlighted in the National Security strategy has been on the increase in the past couple of years.

“In a recent meeting with the United Nation Center for Peace and Disarmament held by the National Coordinator, Mrs. Okubo Ige, she said that West Africa had about 500 million small arms in circulation and hat 70 percent of those arms reside in Nigeria. She put the number at about 350 million,” the lawmaker said.

She further added that statistics from the Office of the Senate President on the timeline of killings in the Middle Belt region alone shows that there have been over 80 reported incidences of armed conflict that had claimed over 877 lives between 1st January to 29th April 2018.

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