Illegal Arms To Earn 25 Years In Jail As Bill Scales Second Reading

A Bill seeking 25 years jail term for illegal arms possession scaled to the second reading on Thursday at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
Titled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Fire Arms Act F28, LFN 2004 to increase the Penalties for illicit possession, transfer, manufacturing, dealing in and housing of fire arms and light weapons and for related matters” was sponsored by Rep Dakuku Peterside (PDP Rivers).
“Small and light arms bearing thrive due to light penalties for offenders. This is what this amendment seeks to cure. A case in point is this; the maximum penalty in Nigeria for illicit possession of firearms is four years in prison whereas 25years is adopted in Togo, Benin Republic and Burkina Faso our neighbouring West African countries.
“A 2011 small and light arms survey by the United Nations shows that about 875 million of such weapons are produced in 100 countries and are in circulation. Nigeria’s share of the illegal arms in circulation was put at about 8 million in 2011 and 12 million in 2012 making Nigeria the country with highest rate of prevalence of illegal arms in Africa alongside South Africa,” he said.
He added, “A Briton was arraigned in the United Kingdom for shipping of 80,000 rifles and pistols and 32 million rounds of ammunition illegally to Nigeria. The shipment is said to have included 40,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 30,000 riffles and 10,000 9mm pistols. Ghanaian authorities recently intercepted a truck loaded with illegal arms and ammunitions heading to Nigeria.
“In 2009, militants in the Niger Delta reportedly surrendered 2,760 arms, 287,445 ammunition, 18 gunboats, 763 explosives, 1,090 dynamite caps and 3,155 magazines.”
Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal thereafter called for votes before it was referred to the House Committees on Public Safety and National Security and Justice.

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