Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) says Nigeria is currently under siege by murderous non-state actors whose activities are threatening the continued existence of the country.
He said the government needed to take urgent measures to deny them the oxygen that sustained their activities.
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He spoke at a public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Navy and Marine Transport on Firearms Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill 2021.
Sani, who sponsored the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, said the proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country with little or no control by relevant authorities had profound implications for the collective survival of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Quoting figures from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, he said out of 500 million illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70%, are domiciled in Nigeria.
He listed the five major objectives of the amendment bill to include the imposition of stiffer penalties for offences under the Act.
“One of such penalties is the one under section 27 (subsection 1c), which proposed increase of fine on illegal possession of firearms from N1,000 to N1m.”
But the representative of Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Oladayo Amao, in his submission, objected to the N1m proposed fine by arguing for its increase to N2m.