Bill on proliferation of small arms, light weapons passes second reading

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Confirm receipt of Buhari’s request to appoint 15 special advisers
The House of Representatives has passed the bill through second reading establishing the National Commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.

The bill, sponsored by Mohammed Monguno (APC: Borno) who expressed grave concern over the influx of small arms and dangerous weapons through ports and porous borders, stressed the need to put necessary measures in place to end the illicit trade.

Monguno said that the proposed commission, when established, would co-ordinate and implement activities to combat the menace of proliferation of weapons in the country in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

“As we have it today, there’s proliferation of small arms and light weapons to the effect that some people have occupied certain areas in Nigeria and declared their caliphate just because they are in possession of small arms and light weapons.“And for government to be seen to be discharging its responsibilities, to not only be seen to bark but also bite, it must device means of mopping up these small arms and light weapons from non-state actors.

“And that’s why the establishment of a commission that will be tasked with the duty of mopping up these small arms and light weapons has become very important,” Monguno said.

While stressing urgent need to halt the proliferation of these weapons by non-state actors, the lawmaker advocate a synergy between Nigeria and other West African countries.

Other lawmakers, who spoke in favour of the bill, said that the commission would help Nigeria in combating insecurity and crimes, especially in the insurgent prone North-East geo-political zone as well as neighbouring borders.

But Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) disagreed with them, saying: “If the police have been very effective, I don’t think the need for a commission would have been stated by this bill.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said that the bill would be referred to the House Committee on Internal Security when constituted.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has formally notified the House of Representatives of his plan to appoint 15 special advisers.This was contained in a letter read by the Speaker during the plenary session.

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