The Senate has raised alarm over what it described as the unacceptable rate of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.
In a motion raised during Tuesday’s plenary by Hope Uzodimma, the lawmakers noted that urgent steps should be taking by the government to stem the ugly tide.
Uzodimma said that the development poses great threat to the peace and security of the country if nothing was done to reverse the trend.
He pointed out that the Fire Arms Act prohibits anybody to be in possession of a firearm without license from the Inspector General of Police or the President.
The legislator also referred to a report by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Development, which showed that about 350 million or 70 percent of an estimated 500 million illegal arms in sub-Saharan Africa, are in Nigeria.
Uzodimma also made reference to the discovery made few weeks ago by the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, of a container load of more than six hundred pump action rifles shipped from China.
He noted that the inability of government to curtail arms proliferation is a tacit encouragement for such crimes as kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, cattle rustling, militancy and terrorism.
After deliberations on the issue, the Senate mandated its committee on Customs “to examine all the processes involved in importation of goods into the country and ascertain who does what and how, in the said process, including Cargo inspection, model and status of scanning equipment used.”
The committee was also asked to “investigate the recent incident of illegal Importation of 661 sophisticated weapons into the country… and any other recent incident relating to illegal importation of Arms into the country and identify the importers.”
While urging the Federal Government to promote inter agency synergy between security agencies in order to intensify safety in Nigeria’s land borders, the Senate President Bukola Saraki expressed optimism that the Customs Committee report would effectively tackle the problem of small arms and light weapons proliferation in Nigeria.