July 2, 2021
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Illegal Firearms: Senate okays three years jail term, N3m for offenders

Posted by News Express | 2 July 2021 | 93 times

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The Senate on Wednes­day passed a bill which provides for three years jail term or N3 million fine or both, as penalties for anyone caught il­legally possessing or dealing in firearms in Nigeria.

Titled ‘Firearms Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, the piece of legislation amends section 35 (2) of the Principal Act which previously provided a fine of just N1000 as penalty.

The amendment to section 35(2), which is captured in Clause 4 of the bill, provides for stiffer penalties for the il­legal possession of firearms and ammunitions by any individual, organisation or corporate entity.

The passage of the amend­ment bill followed the consid­eration of a report by the Com­mittee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The senate sequel to re­ceiving the committee’s re­port, dissolved into the Com­mittee of the Whole to carry out on a clause-by-clause con­sideration of the committee’s recommendations on the bill.

The upper chamber insert­ed a new section 39 after sec­tion 38 of the Principal Act, to make it lawful for any officer of the Nigerian Armed Forc­es, Nigeria Police Force, Nige­ria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and officers of other law enforcement agencies to seize and confiscate any illicit and illegal firearms import­ed into the country without any valid import documents or firearms in possession of any individual, corporate bod­ies and other organisations, without a valid license.

The new section empowers the head of agency responsi­ble for the seizure, to create a place for safe custody of the firearms, as well as designate officers whose responsibility it shall be to record the details of the firearms in a database.

It further provides that the agency responsible for the confiscation or seizure of illegal firearms shall within fourteen days deposit the con­fiscated and seized firearms with the Office of the Nation­al Security Adviser, who shall act as the Central Coordinat­ing Body for all illicit and ille­gal firearms seized by any law enforcement agency.

Upon receipt of the con­fiscated illegal firearms, the new section provides that the National Security Adviser in collaboration with the Armed Forces shall assess and sepa­rate the firearms that are of military serviceable grades to be deployed to the mil­itary; and serviceable but not of military grades to be deployed for use by Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and Registered Vigilantes under the approval and supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Also, in accordance with section 39 subsection (4), same provides that arrangement shall be put in place by the Office of the National Securi­ty Adviser for the destruction of the unserviceable firearms during a destruction ceremo­ny.

However, the destruction ceremony referred to in sub­section (6) gives the Office of the National Security Advis­er a maximum period of two months to carry out same af­ter seizure of illegal firearms.

In addition, the Senate in­serted new section 41 in the Principal Act which provides for the recycling of waste materials from destroyed firearms.

Under the new section, the minister in charge of defence is required to develop a poli­cy for recycling and reusing waste materials such as met­al, wood and plastic derived from the destruction of fire­arms seized pursuant to the provision of the bill in order to generate revenue and pro­duce objects with practical artistic and symbolic value.

(Daily Independent)

Source: News Express


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