An Executive bill seeking to establish the National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons on Tuesday scaled Second Reading in the Senate.
The bill was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Abdullahi said the centre when established would, among others, coordinate and control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
According to the lawmaker, its presence would tremendously tackle the menace of the proliferation of illicit trade in illegal Arms and weapons of terror that has become a serious security challenge in Nigeria.
“Today in this Country, there is general insecurity as most parts of the Country experience high level of Crimes perpetrated using illicit arms.
“The UN estimates that about eight (8) Million illegal Arms are in circulation in West Africa and a substantial percentage of this numbers are in Nigeria.
“This has greatly fueled violent conflict as witnessed in the Niger Delta, Kidnapping in the South East, armed robbery pandemic in the South West, ethnic and religious violence in the North Central and above all, Boko Haram operation in the North East Zone.
“This ugly situation has plugged essential machineries needed to combat illegally importation of small Arms, Ammunition and light weapons from all ratification.
“It is quite obvious that the effects of illegal Arms and weapons of terror in Nigeria are self-explanatory and it calls for concerted effects by all and sundry to successfully fight against this illicit trade of illegal arms and weapons of terror.
“It is within this framework, that this Bill coming from the executive to combat illegal importation of small arms, Ammunition and light weapons into Nigeria”, the lawmaker said.
Abdullahi explained that the responsibilities of the Centre when established would include identifying the main routes of small arms, ammunitions and light weapons; formulating policies and guidelines for the eradication of the illegal importation and proliferation of small arms, ammunitions and light weapons into Nigeria; and training of corps towards the effective enforcement of the its mandate.
The bill after scaling second reading was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on National Security and Intelligence.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Ibrahim Gobir, was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.