Arms Shipment: National Assembly Gets Involved
The National Assembly is concerned about the importation of fire arms into Nigeria and it is not keeping quiet.
Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives are taking bold steps to stop shipment of fire arms into Nigeria which has left many citizens wondering 'who is preparing for war'.
Last week, the Nigeria Customs Service seized a fourth container of rifles, all of the four shipments coming from Turkey.
In the Senate, a bill that will amend the Fire Arms Act passed a second reading.
The bill when passed will ensure that there is an increase of fines and the destruction of all firearms that are illegally imported into Nigeria or that are in the possession of individuals that do not have valid licenses.
Members of the Senate believe the bill is pertinent, because with its eventual passage, it will strengthen the existing Fire Arms Act and make Nigeria safer.
Apart from the fines and other punitive measures that would be imposed on individuals, the Senate will also look at the laws that are currently in place to ensure that shipping agents and other companies that are involved in the importation of illegal firearms into the nation are held liable, Senate President Bukola Saraki said.
The Bill has been sent to the Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters for further work.
Senator Saraki said the Senate would hold public hearing on this bill, to seek the support of experts, security agencies and the general public in coming up with a thorough legislative strategy to combat the proliferation of weapons in Nigerian communities.
In the House of Representatives, lawmakers invited the Nigeria Customs Service and the Department of State Service to brief them on the influx of small arms and light weapons into Nigeria.
A member of the House from Anambra State, Mr Obinna Chidoka, had moved a motion under Matters of Public Importance aimed at ascertaining the cause(s) of the influx of arms and how to stop it.
Chidoka told the House that 2,671 pieces of rifles have been smuggled into Nigeria since January.
“The recent firearms seizure, which is the second this month and fourth in 2017 would appear to suggest that the syndicate behind the firearms has stepped up its nefarious trade.
“This has far-reaching consequences for our dear nation, as firearms and light weapons are the lifeblood of organised crimes and criminality.
“The influx has confirmed the recent report by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, which identified Nigeria as a destination of choice for smugglers of small arms and light weapons,’’ he said.
Chidoka believes a brief by the heads of the agencies would enable the House know how to curb the menace.
The lawmakers are getting involved in the startling issue after Turkish Ambassador, Hakan Cakil and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, agreed to collaborate in tracking down persons that may have shipped the 4 containers of pump action rifles into Nigeria.
While concerns haven been raised on the shipments, agitations for the state of Biafra had increased in the south-east after troops of the Nigerian Army were deployed there for a military operation code named Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II).
Youths of the region kicked against the deployment and clashed with troops.
The 'dance' between troops and locals, created an atmosphere of uncertainty, gradually bringing back memories of the 904 dark days of war in the late 1960s.
In this trailer video, veteran soldiers shared their experiences in the Biafra War and their opinions on the resumed agitations for secession.