Cancel Revocation For Firearms Licences, Nigeria Representatives Urges Buhari
The House of Representatives Thursday demanded a reversal of the Executive Order signed by President Muhammadu Buhari revoking firearms or short gun licences in the interest of Nigerians who will be left vulnerable and be at the mercy of criminals, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
The demand followed the passage of a motion of urgent national importance on the need for the president to rescind the executive order to remove, revoke and banish all firearms certificates and licences throughout the country moved by Hon. Nnenna Ukeje representing Bende Federal Constituency, Abia State.
The president had on May 22 signed into law the Executive Order revoking all firearm or shotgun certificates or licences in Nigeria. By the provisions of the Executive Order, which becomes effective from June 1, 2019, nobody in the country is allowed or authorised to own or carry prohibited weapons or gun.
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Contributors to debate on the motion for the revocation of the Executive Order said the president’s order would strip the people of their rights to life and self-defence.
The lawmakers also urged Buhari to sign into law, the bill on the establishment of a national commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which is not only a domestic law but also a treaty obligation.
Ukeje had expressed concern over the rising spate of insecurity, leading to increased number of deaths resulting from terrorism, kidnapping and banditry and other violent crimes.
The lawmaker’s concern was “that this omnibus order targets legal gun owners and their guns while there doesn’t seem to be either institutional actionable policy or plan to mop up small arms and light weapons that are at the centre of these crimes.”
She blamed illegal guns at the disposal of criminals for the increase in crime.
A lawyer and member of the House, Hon. Simon Arabo, representing Kauru Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, who supported the motion, said there is an act that allows Nigerians to own licensed guns and that the executive order cannot override the act.
Hon. Uzoma Abonta representing Ukwa East/Ukwa West, Abia State, said rather than suspend legitimate gun licences, efforts should be directed at getting illegal guns out of circulation.
“They should recover all illegal guns first. If you withdraw licences, it means encouraging arms struggling. Tell Mr. President to concentrate on withdrawing illegal guns that are giving us problems,” Abonta said.
However, Hon. Alabi Mojeed, representing Ede North, South/Egbedero/Ejigbo Federal Constituency, Osun State, regretted that the procedure for gun licensing had been shoddy.
While he agreed that there is the need to arrest those using guns illegally, he challenged the police to put in foolproof regulations and procedures for gun licensing.