Following the spate of insecurity across the country, the lawmaker representing Delta North Senatorial District, Ned Nwoko, has given a detailed explanation of his proposed bill of allowing Nigerians to bear arms for self defence.
Last month, the lawmaker had proposed the introduction of a bill that allows a civilian to own and carry firearms.
He proposed that an Amendment bill allowing civilian firearm ownership must be introduced in the Senate.
“My bill on self-defence and firearms ownership regulation, currently listed in the Senate awaiting its first reading, deals with this pressing issue,” he had said.
Detailing the content of the bill when featured on Arise TV Morning Show on Thursday, Nwoko highlighted the criteria for Nigerians to bear arms as contained in the bill.
The criteria include:
References from two medical doctors certifying mental alertness and fitness.
Endorsement from the local government chairman of the community validation
A traditional leader’s certification
A confirmation by the Divisional Police Officer to verify the intending bearer’s criminal record.
“Talking about my bill, it is not just about people carrying arms, or just going into a store to buy arms, there are measures that have been proposed and they are very strict,” he said.
Nwoko further said that, “so, what I’m trying to do specifically is to have a system where people who are willing to carry arms are given the opportunity.
“One of the first conditions to be met is that every local government area must have a gun shooting school and if you want to bear arms, the first thing to do is to get trained on how to use it and in every local government area, there will be shooting schools run by former military officers which are owned by them.
“Now, when you have been certified to have gone through the training, the next thing you will do will be to go to your King, Emir, or Oba who will give you a letter certifying that you’re from that particular place and the next thing is to go to two doctors and those two doctors will certify that you are mentally fit to bear arms and then you go to your local government chairman who must also confirm that you’re from that particular LG.
“Then, you’d go to the Divisional Police Officer of that locality and the DPO must confirm that you do not have any criminal records and you’re not a wanted person,” he elaborated.
Furthermore, Nwoko said, “We have all experienced the lawlessness that is pervading the nation or we know somebody that has experienced it.
“Somebody who has been kidnapped by kidnappers, militants, or herdsmen.
“We have come to a point in this country where we must make an honest admission to ourselves which is that the security agents cannot really protect lives and properties as enshrined in the constitution.”
Nwoko lamented that, “the common man does not get any kind of support from the police. The police are ill-equipped, ill-funded, and not capable of discharging those onerous duties.
“That is the basic fact. I am in the Senate Committee on police matters and I can tell you that we do not have the number of policemen that we need to secure Nigeria as a country.
“The Military on the other hand, I mean we’ve been spending billions of naira over the years buying warplanes, different kinds of arms and ammunitions in the name of fighting terrorism and other crimes. But they are again not able to deal with the issues.
“Look, the idea of a bill to enable Nigerians to bear arms is born out of desperation and the fact that people do not have the kind of protection that they need,” he added.
The lawmaker reiterated that he had proposed the bill after careful consideration of the plights of Nigerians who are daily being subjected to terror by agents of darkness
Recall that before Nwoko, the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, in 2022, said Nigerians must be allowed to take up arms and defend themselves against terrorists.
Also, ex-governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, in 2020, had also appealed to the Federal Government to permit sane and responsible Nigerians bear arms for self defence.