The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday considered a bill seeking to establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC – Kogi West), said the functions of the commission when established will among others include identifying sources and routes of small arms and ammunitions; identifying those involved in the illicit trade; and providing harmonisation of intelligence and information collection.
According to Adeyemi, the proliferation of small arms and weapons is a phenomenon responsible for destabilising the peace, development and threatening the national security of some countries in Africa.
Noting that the local root cause of conflicts are numerous and diverse, Adeyemi, however, said that in all local conflicts, the diffusion of illegal arms and weapons of terror has played a decisive role in the escalation and intensification of these conflicts.
He said, “The proliferation of these weapons affects the intensity and duration of violence and encourages militancy rather than a peaceful resolution of unsettled differences.
“In Nigeria, this has become a serious security challenge, there is general insecurity as most parts of the country experience high level crimes perpetrated using illicit arms.
“The effects of illegal arms and weapons of terror in Nigeria are self-explanatory an calls for concerted effort by all and sundry to successfully prosecute this war against terror. The support, collaboration and involvement of all genuine stakeholders is a condition precedent to winning the war.”
Senator Adamu Aliero while lending his voice in support of the passage of the bill, accused men of the Nigeria Customs Service of conniving with arms dealers to smuggle in small arms into the country through the borders.
He added that if the bill was not passed into law by the National Assembly, “violence will continue” unabated.
The bill which scaled second reading on the floor during plenary was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on National Security and Intelligence to report back in four weeks.