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Senate to consider bill on rights of Nigerians to carry firearms for self-defence

Senate to consider bill on rights of Nigerians to carry firearms for self-defence %Post Title

Senator Ned Nwoko has urged the National Assembly to pass relevant legislation, such as the right to firearms, to guarantee further the safety of lives and property in Nigeria.

Mr Nwoko, who represents Delta North Senatorial District and is a member of the Senate Committee on Defence, made the appeal in an interview 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, depend on stringent conditions and regulations such as 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,” Mr Nwoko said.

“My bill on self-defence 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 join the conversation on making 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,” Mr Nwoko said.

According to Mr Nwoko, a strengthened security system would minimise violent crimes.

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

The legislator said his proposed legislation stipulates the involvement of grassroots 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 an endorsement from the local government chairman for the 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)

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