The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Uba Sani, has said there is an urgent need to amend the nation’s law against illegal arms-bearing.
He said stiffer punishments should be imposed on offenders to effectively tackle insecurity in Nigeria.
Sani, who is currently sponsoring a bill to that effect, told our correspondent on Saturday in Abuja, that most people being arrested for possessing illegal arms found it easy to pay fines imposed on them and move freely in the society afterwards.
The senator described as alarming, a recent report which indicated that over 350 million “illegal” arms and ammunition are currently in possession of many people in Nigeria.
He said the only way out of the dangerous situation was for the illegal Arms Prohibition Act to be amended with stiffer punishments for offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.
He said, “ A lot of illegal arms have been discovered in the houses of a lot of people in Nigeria who are criminals and bandits. That is why I believe that the penalties, particularly the sanctions, in the Act must be updated to meet the global best practices.
“For instance, the current Act, which I am pushing for amendment through the Senate, has penalties that are as little as N10,000; some are N100, 000. I believe that the best way to deter those elements who are breaking the law by moving about with illegal firearms is to to come up with stiffer penalties.
“As the sponsor of the bill, I don’t have the monopoly on it; that is why the Senate is subjecting it to a public hearing so that Nigerians would come out and suggest stiffer penalties that would discourage people from bearing illegal firearms.
“It is a sensitive issue and we are going to involve the various security agencies in the country. We know that every patriotic Nigerian will support it because it is not a controversial bill.”
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