…Says Executive Order leaves Nigerians vulnerable
The House of Representatives yesterday rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order meant to remove, revoke and ban firearms licenses and certificates throughout the country.
The lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday not only rejecting the Order but demanding that the President quickly sign into law a Bill on the establishment of a National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
They noted during debate on a motion titled “the Need for Mr. President to Rescind the Executive Order To Remove, Revoke and Banish All Firearms Certificates And Licences Throughout The Country”, that establishing a Commission that will deal with illegal entry and ownership of firearms and guns through legislation will help internal security in addition to the fact that it is also obligatory since it is an international treaty which Nigeria signed into to curb inflow of illegal weapons used for all forms of criminality and terrorism in the country.
According to them, it was expedient that the President rescinded on the order in the interest of Nigerians who will be too vulnerable to the activities of mindless criminals, terrorists, bandits and Kidnappers.
They argued during debate on the motion which was brought and considered under “Matter of Urgent Public Importance” that by the President’s decision, the lives of Nigerians were more at risks and defenceless.
In the final resolution, the House declared to “urge Mr. President to in the interest of the Nigerian People who are left vulnerable to the activities of mindless criminals, terrorists, bandits and Kidnappers to please reverse that decision as it strips the people of the rights to life and self defence.”
Similarly they resolved to “Urge Mr. President 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 so as to help us curb the inflow of illegal weapons and that have been used in theatre of wars.”
In the motion sponsored by Hon. Nnena Ukeje who argued that with the increasing spate of insecurity in the land that those affected by the Order were mostly Nigerians who were legal gun owners with certified licences and certificates.
She said rather than clamp down on illegal gun owners and carriers; the Order regretfully targets legal gun owners and their guns.
She said “Conceded 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”
Ukeje admitted that the high number of illegal guns are responsible among other factors for the increase in crime, the submissions all the lawmakers agreed during their separate contributions to the debate.
Those who spoke, like Nkem Abonta, Sunday Adepoju, Simon Arabo, Pally Iriase among others are of the view that government needed to step up on arresting those with illegal weapons instead of making those who acquired such firearms, like short and Double- Barrel guns legitimately for gaming and in most instance for self-defence, vulnerable to criminals .
For instance, Hon Abonta, urged the president to concentrate in curbing illegal guns and not the ones used for gaming.
“Are we saying, we should not game again, the President should suspended the proclamation, mop up before he makes the order” Abonta further advised.
For Hon Iriase, he said it was not out of place to make such order but it should be a policy aimed at mopping arms illegally with criminals. He said the order will make Nigerians prone to criminals, who now know that their victims can no longer defend themselves.
He said robbers are scared when they attack a neighborhood and there is a reprisal or corresponding fire from the victims but that with the order, it could be a field day for criminals.
The motion however passed with majority support.