The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill seeking to establish a commission to check the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The bill, which is sponsored by the chief whip, Tahir Monguno, sought to domesticate the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convention on small arms and a light weapon.
When established, the commission will be charged with the task of coordinating efforts to combat the challenges of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country in line with the ECOWAS convention on light weapons. Leading debate on the bill, Monguno decried the proliferation of light weapons and small arms in the country, stating that there was a need to check it in view of the dangers it poses to the security of the country.
Consequently, he appealed to the lawmakers to support the bill in the interest of the country. In his contribution, Yusuf Gagdi said local blacksmiths are partly responsible for the proliferation of light arms in the country. While expressing support for the bill, he argued that although creating a new commission is expensive, the benefits of a commission to check the proliferation of small are innumerable.
According to him, “if you know the implication of local made arms and ammunition, you will then understand the importance of this bill.
“The contributions of local arms are more dangerous than the AK 47 assault rifle; it is important to look into the activities of the local blacksmith. No matter the cost implication, the benefit of the commission will offset the cost.”
Aminu Suleiman faulted the proposal for the creation of a new commission to tackle arms proliferation, noting that the country is at risk of “proliferation of commissions.” Suleiman said instead of creating a new commission to check arms proliferation, the government should address the issue of remuneration and retraining of police officers.