Ned Nwoko, the representative of Delta North senatorial district, has emphasized the necessity of new legislation that permits civilians to possess and bear arms. He stated that in light of the prevailing security issues, especially considering the tragic Plateau massacre on December 24, where over 100 innocent civilians lost their lives, it is imperative to introduce a bill allowing civilian firearm possession in the Senate. Currently, there is a bill in the Senate that addresses the urgent matter of self-defence and regulations on firearms ownership. It is awaiting its initial reading.
The nationwide importance of the subject matter has brought about a satisfying response, igniting a range of perspectives and dialogues that mainly align into two contrasting groups, one against and the other in favour. Senator Nwoko further emphasizes that it is clear that the current security measures have failed to adequately protect the neighbourhoods. Granting law-abiding individuals the right to own firearms has the potential to instil a heightened feeling of safety and equip them with a method to protect themselves as well as their loved ones against imminent perils.
Rigorous regulations and extensive training must be in place.
Multiple layers of control must be implemented to prevent sabotage and misuse, stressed the legislator representing Delta. Nonetheless, it remains imperative to underscore that authorizing firearm ownership must go hand in hand with rigorous regulations and extensive training. This method guarantees that only responsible individuals, fully cognizant of the weight attached to owning firearms, are granted this privilege and possess the necessary skills to handle these weapons safely. The prohibition on bearing arms gives rise to an alarming issue that revolves around the illegal bearing of weaponry.
Implementing licensed dealerships for firearms has the potential to tackle this matter effectively, as it establishes a controlled pathway for the lawful acquisition of firearms. This initiative aims to tackle the problem of illegal arms trafficking and additionally offers a means to generate revenue through licensing fees and taxes levied on these dealerships. Law enforcement agencies, security infrastructure, and initiatives to tackle the underlying causes of insecurity could receive a boost through the allocation of licensing fees and taxes derived from firearm dealerships.
Civilians to own arms must go through many processes.
According to Nwoko, in order to own a firearm, one must go through a process that includes receiving affirmations of mental stability from four medical practitioners, obtaining validation from the local government chairman to assure acceptance within the community, securing a guarantor role from a respected traditional leader to emphasize cultural trust, and garnering confirmation from the Divisional Police Officer to verify one’s lack of criminal involvement. Those will establish a thorough screening procedure that prioritizes mental well-being, societal backing, cultural connections, and a pristine background as prerequisites for owning firearms responsibly.
Also, the Ministry of Defence suggests a variety of firearms that can be owned by civilians, such as pistols with a maximum capacity of six rounds, shotguns with one or two barrels, and pump-action shotguns. These options cater to different needs for self-defence and prioritize responsible ownership by keeping control, regulation, and expert recommendations in place. This approach aims to minimize any potential risks linked to possessing firearms. However, in order to avoid any negative repercussions and prioritize the safety of the public, it is imperative to establish a thorough system of regulations and supervision for this approach.
Crime will be minimized with equal access to arms.
In previous occurrences, there have been numerous occasions where prominent individuals advocated for Nigeria’s citizens to possess firearms. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, expressed in 2022 that Nigerians should have the right to bear arms as a means of self-defence against terrorists. Similarly, Samuel Ortom, former Governor of Benue State, reiterated his plea to the Federal Government in 2020, urging them to grant responsible Nigerian individuals permission to arm themselves for protection. During a press briefing, he highlighted that in case the outlaws, extremists, and wrongdoers possess an awareness of the presence of equally advanced weaponry among the local residents they intend to target or rob, they would exercise heightened prudence.