Senate president advocates stiffer penalties for firearms bearers

Nigeria’s Senate President Ahmad Lawan has advocated for stiffer penalties for anyone found with firearms in the country illegally.

He expressed worry over the continued proliferation of firearms, adding that security situation would have improved if these firearms could be effectively mopped up.

Lawan, who stated this on Tuesday while contributing to a bill seeking to amend the Firearms Act 2004, charged the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to engage the executive arm of government to see where they could improve on the bill for easy passage and assent.

The Senate president said the executive might be ready to do something to improve the security situation now that they were seeing a different or an improved approach.

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“The security situation would have been far better if we were able to control the proliferation of firearms in the country.

“This bill, like the sponsor mentioned, was passed in the 8th Senate. Now that we have brought it back, when it will be referred to the Committee – Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – they should engage with the executive arm of government to see where the issue is if that has not been done by the sponsor of the bill.

“But, I believe that there is no compromise for stiffer penalties for anyone caught with an illegal arm.

“The security situation can still be reversed, once we continue to remain focused and committed. And, for us in the National Assembly, it has been a very difficult time, probably the most difficult time, because our people face this daily security challenges, and, the question is always, what are you people doing?

“Unfortunately, the Legislature is limited in what it can do. It cannot implement, but it can talk about it, debate and insist on it.

“I believe that this executive is ready to do something to improve the security situation. Now that we are seeing a different or an improved approach, maybe the end to the insecurity in the country is at sight,” Lawan stated.

The Firearms Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill was sponsored by Uba Sani (Kaduna Central).

Sani said the aim of the proposed amendments was to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms and effectively address some of the security challenges currently bedevilling the country.

The lawmaker argued that security would improve if firearms were well regulated.

The committee was given four weeks to submit its report.

Meanwhile, the ‘Bill for an Act to amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act’ also passed second reading.

Sponsored by Ayuba Dimka (Plateau Central), the bill seeks to end the disruptive drug chain in the country.

In their contributions, senators argued that drug barons would persist if there were no stiffer sanctions.

They said if the bill was passed, the enforcement and implementation would be easy for law enforcement agencies.

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