Thursday, 16 October 2014

Insecurity: Nigerian Government Set To Amend  ‘Colonial Era’ Firearms Act

THE Federal Government, in line with its overall counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency strategy, has reached advanced stage in the proposed amendment of the 1959 Nigerian Firearm Act and the Firearms Act CAP F28 LFN 2004.

Chairman, Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM), Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, stated this in Abuja, on
Wednesday, at the opening of a two-day experts’ roundtable on the repeal of the Nigerian “Firearms Act.”

According to Imohe, the Act was obsolete and did not reflect the realities and challenges associated with armed violence and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) proliferation.

He noted that the effectiveness of the
implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on SALW depended largely on the potency of the member states’ national gun laws, the potency of the institutional framework for the
implementation of the convention (notably the National Commission), as well as the conformity or harmonisation of the national gun laws in member states to the provisions of the ECOWAS

The former Director General of Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), however, lamented that the “law is not strong enough to constitute a deterrent on the nefarious activities of such criminals” and the “existing Act lacks the bite to hand over commensurate sanctions to culprits or breaches of the Act.”

Speaking further, the former Nigerian
Ambassador to the Unites States (US) said that since President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated PRESCOM last year, they have stressed the problem posed by the proliferation of illicit
weapons to national peace and security, especially the role of illegal arms in strengthening non-state actors and reinforcing criminal networks like Boko Haram terrorist group.

Meanwhile, the proposed amendment was carried out by PRESCOM, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Justice, and technical and expert inputs the security agencies, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), ECOWAS Commission, ICRC, and UNREC amongst others.