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February 27, 2024
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Sen. Ned Nwoko

Insecurity: Lawmaker tasks National Assembly on right to firearms

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By Deborah

Sen. Ned Nwoko has urged the National Assembly to make relevant legislations such as the right to firearms to further guarantee the safety of lives and property in the country.

Nwoko, who represents Delta North Senatorial District and member, Senate committee on Defence, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The lawmaker said insecurity in the country informed his decision to introduce to the Senate an amendment bill to allow civilians to own firearms.

He said the permission for self defence would, however, be dependent on stringent conditions and regulations such as a comprehensive training.

“This approach ensures that firearms are in the hands of responsible individuals who understand the gravity of such ownership and are equipped to handle these weapons safely.

“Nonetheless, this approach necessitates a meticulous regulatory framework and oversight to prevent any adverse consequences and prioritise public safety above all else,” Nwoko said.

“My bill on self-defense and firearms ownership regulation, currently listed in the Senate awaiting its first reading, deals with this pressing issue.

He said it was also important that Nigerians joined the conversation on how to make the country safer, adding that it was wrong to leave it in the hands of governments alone.

“I am pleased that the topic has gained national significance, sparking diverse opinions and discussions that predominantly fall into two camps – one in opposition and the other in support.

“Allowing law-abiding citizens to possess firearms could potentially provide a sense of security and a means to protect themselves and their families from immediate threats.

“However, it is crucial to emphasise that the initiative to permit firearm ownership is accompanied by stringent regulations and comprehensive training,” Nwoko said.

According to Nwoko, a strengthened security system will minimse the challenges of insecurity the country is facing.

“The persistent threats and violence have left many feeling vulnerable and defenseless,” he said.

He said his proposed legislation stipulates the involvement of grassroot leaders and the police before certification is given.

“The qualifications for firearm ownership must involve obtaining references from four medical doctors affirming mental soundness.

“It must include endorsement from the Local Government chairman for community validation, a traditional leader’s guarantor role emphasising cultural trust, and confirmation by the Divisional Police Officer to verify the absence of criminal involvement.

“These requirements aim to ensure a comprehensive vetting process, emphasising mental fitness, community support, cultural ties, and a clean record for responsible firearm ownership,” the lawmaker said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Uche Anunne

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