By Christiana Ekpa
A Bill for an Act to amend the Fire Arms Act, provide for increase of fine and provide for destruction of firearms illegally imported into the Country was read the second time and passed at the Senate.
In his lead debate, Senator Gbolahan Dada (Ogun West) said the lack of embargo on imported Arms from foreign countries is affecting Nigeria negatively.
“Nigerians woke up to read a publication in Daily Trust newspaper that Nigeria Customs Service has seized 160 pump action rifles imported into the country from China
“ It was reported that over 500 million of such weapons are circulating in West Africa with over 350 million (I.e. 70%) of such weapons domiciled in Nigeria”
He said some of the firearms may have found their ways back to the market with negative consequences, due to the fact that, there is no provision for destruction of illicit firearms in the Act.
The objectives of the amendment bill are as follows : to increase the fine imposed for offences committed under the Act from one thousand naira to one hundred thousand naira, to provide destruction of firearms illegally imported into the country or in possession of the individual without valid licence.
The Bill also seek to generate revenue for the Federal Government from recycling and reusing waste materials such as metal, wood and plastic derived from destroyed firearms.