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Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

NBA bemoans proliferation of firearms in Nigeria

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By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has bemoaned the proliferation of arms and ammunitions in the country, questioning law prohibiting unlicensed possession of firearms.
According to NBA, the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in Nigeria gives the impression that governments and their security agencies are very complacent in their approache to security and safety challenges.
The statement is following an assassination attempt on the past Chairman of Auchi Branch, Mr. A. A Atemoagbo, that claimed the life of his wife, Joan, along Auchi-Benin Road, near Ehor, in Edo State.
The President of the Association, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, decrying the pace at which criminals find it so easy to acquire firearms and ammunition in our country, asked why the governments not carrying out consistent and concerted campaign against illegal ownership and possession of firearms.
Further in the statement, NBA is surprised at no news of any crackdown by the security agencies on illegal ownership and/or possession of firearms.
The statement reads in part. “Barely a week ago, precisely on Sunday, 04 November 2018, hoodlums rained bullet shots at the car of the past Chairman of Auchi Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (“NBA”), Mr. A. A Atemoagbo, along Auchi-Benin Road, near Ehor, in Edo State, in an attempt to halt him. Mr. Atemoagbo survived the attack, albeit with injuries and greatly traumatized, but not so, his wife, Joan, who was killed by the assassins’ bullets. Mr. Atemoagbo was returning from a Convention of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that held in Benin and, in his Honda CRV car were his wife, their young child and one other passenger. Mr. Atemoagbo’s car was indeed stopped by the hoodlums and he was kidnapped and only released days later after the payment of the specified ransom amount.
“This very unfortunate and depressing incident which, sadly, is not isolated, highlights two critical issues, both related to security of lives and property in our land. First, how come criminals find it so easy to acquire firearms and ammunition in our country? What happened to the enforcement of the law prohibiting unlicensed possession of firearms? How come we have not heard of any crackdown by the security agencies on illegal ownership and/or possession of firearms or isn’t it obvious that there’s unbridled ownership and possession of guns by all shades of criminals, giving rise to the runaway insecurity to lives and property in Nigeria? How come governments, at the different levels, are not carrying out consistent and concerted campaign against illegal ownership and possession of firearms? Why is there no concerted effort at stemming this unseemly situation?
“It needs be mentioned that the proliferation of firearms and ammunition in Nigeria gives the impression that governments and their security agencies are very complacent in their approache to security and safety challenges. What would it take to wake up governments at all levels and the security agencies to their respective
responsibilities in this regards? Perhaps. Joan Atemoagbo would have been alive and with us today if governments and their security agencies had taken their respective responsibilities seriously and cracked down on proliferation of arms and ammunitions. It’s not too late to start that crackdown now and we urge the various governments to do so before another life is lost,”
Further in the statement, the NBA said, “Second and on a related note, we understand that the location where the Atemoagbos were attacked along Benin-Auchi Road. close to Ehor, in Edo State is notorious for such criminal and deadly attacks.
“Indeed, we understand that an Edo State local Government Chairman was attacked and killed at that same spot in 2017. Mr. Atemoagbo tells us that, while in captivity, he noticed that the kidnappers’ business was truly booming. Indeed, as he was entering his captivity, some others were being released from the den upon the payment of the demanded ransom and he was replacing them. As he was being released, upon payment of the ransom amount, some other victim was replacing and taking his place.
“How come such organized criminal ring and gang operate brazenly without hindrance and with such freedom and effrontry? What happened to the intelligence capabilities of our security agencies? Have the criminals developed strategies and operating modus that are seeminly superior to those of our intelligence and security agencies, thereby making the criminals invincible and, perhaps, untouchable?”
Concluding, the association condoled their learned colleague on his lost, praying that the perpetrators wouldn’t go unpunished.

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