In a bid to check the escalating level of insecurity in the country, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, advocated stiffer penalty for illegal possession of firearms.
He insisted that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons has contributed to the rising cases of armed conflicts, banditry and other forms of criminalities in the country.
According to him, the issue of insecurity across parts of the country would have been nipped but for the continued illegal proliferation of firearms in the country.
He also identified the poor enforcement of existing laws as reasons for the growing insecurity as “there are no deterrence to stop perpetrators for engaging in acts of criminality.”
Lawan made this known in his concluding remarks after the Senate considered a bill seeking to amend the Firearms Act, 2004.
The bill, The Firearms Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill, was sponsored by Senator Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress representing Kaduna Central. Lending his voice to the debate, Lawan said “The security situation would have been far better, if we were able to control the proliferation of firearms in the country.
“This bill, as 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 problem is, if that has not been done.
“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?
While calling on the executive to do more to safeguard lives and property in the country, Lawan urged lawmakers to work with the executive to allow it remedy the ugly security situation in the country.
The Senate referred further legislative action on the Bill to its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, which would report to the larger House in four weeks.