A bill stipulating 25-years jail term for illegal possession of firearms went through the second reading in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The bill seeks to amend the Fire arms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, which prescribes a four-year jail term for offenders.
The bill got overwhelming support from members.

Justifying the amendment of the principal Act, the sponsor of the bill, Dakuku Peterside (PDP, Rivers), noted that the influx of illegal arms into Nigeria “constitutes a serious threat to our unity, socio-political and economic development”.
According to him, one of the key reasons the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) gave at a recent briefing on why Boko Haram was thriving is the proliferation of illegal arms.
Peterside said: “A 2011 small and light arms survey by the United Nations (UN) shows that about 875 million of such weapons are produced in 100 countries and are in circulation.

“Nigeria’s share of the illegal arms in circulation was put at about eight million in 2011 and 12 million in 2012, making Nigeria the country with the highest rate of prevalence of illegal arms in Africa alongside South Africa.”
The lawmaker said the proliferation of small and light arms has become a network affair that needs to be broken.
He said: “Proliferation of small and light arms thrive in Nigeria because of several cells involved in the trade; importers, transporters, those who warehouse it, those who market it, those who bear it, among others, very often the law focuses on those who bear it.