The Senate on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 passed for the second reading, the Bill seeking to the establish the Nigeria National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) (SB 513) and referred it to the Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence for further legislative scrutiny
The Bill is aimed at making provisions for the coordination and implementation of activities to curb and combat the challenges associated with SALWs in Nigeria in accordance with the United Nations Treaties and ECOWAS Convention on SALWs.
Leading the debate on the Bill, the Senate Leader, Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi (APC: Kebbi) explained that the circulation of illegal arms across the country has increased and sustained violent conflicts and attacks, therefore, the establishment of a National Commission on SALWs is a legal obligation for all countries bound by these treaties for which Nigeria is a party.
Sen Abdullahi stated that some functions of the Commission will include:
- Identifying main sources and routes of illicit trade of SALWs.
- Enhancing co-ordination and collaboration among Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in order to address the challenges of proliferation of SALWs.
- The collection, analysis and dissemination of information among intelligence units and law enforcement agencies.
- Providing training and capacity building for officers of the Commission towards effective enforcement of its mandates.
- Identifying individuals that are involved in the illicit trade of SALWs.
- Establishing mechanisms for the prosecution of offenders involved in illegal importation of SALWs.
It would be recalled that at the Senate at its plenary session of Wednesday, 19 February 2020, a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC: Kogi) passed second reading. The Committee on National Security and Intelligence is expected to consolidate both Bills since it borders on the same subject matter and report back to plenary within 2 weeks.