Senator Ned Nwoko, who represents Delta North Senatorial District, has provided an explanation for why he believes Nigerians should have the right to own and carry firearms.
During an interview on Arise TV, Nwoko stated that the increasing insecurity in the country inspired him to propose a bill that would grant this privilege for self-defense.
According to him, “An amendment bill allowing civilian firearm ownership must be introduced in the Senate. My bill on self-defence and firearms ownership regulation, currently listed in the Senate awaiting its first reading, deals with this pressing issue.”
Ned Nwoko went on to outline the specific criteria outlined in the bill that would permit Nigerians to bear arms.
These criteria include obtaining references from two medical doctors certifying the individual’s mental fitness.
Additionally, the bill requires an endorsement from the local government chairman to validate the individual within the community, a certification from a traditional leader, and confirmation from the Divisional Police Officer to verify the intended bearer’s criminal record.
He said, “Talking about my bill, it is not just about people carrying arms, or just going into a store to buy arms, there are measures that have been proposed and they are very strict. In America, every citizen has a right to bear arms and it is enshrined in their constitution. In Nigeria, it is not so.
“So, what I am trying to do specifically is to have a system where people who are willing to carry arms are given the opportunity. One of the first conditions to be met is that every local government area must have a gun shooting school and if you want to bear arms, the first thing to do is to get trained on how to use it and in every local government area, there will be shooting schools run by former military officers which are owned by them.
“Now, when you have been certified to have gone through the training, the next thing you will do will be to go to your King, Emir, or Oba who will give you a letter certifying that you’re from that particular place and the next thing is to go to two doctors and those two doctors must certify that you are mentally fit to bear arms and then you go to your local government chairman who must also confirm that you’re from that particular LG. Then, you’d go to the Divisional Police Officer of that locality and the DPO must confirm that you do not have any criminal records and you’re not a wanted person.”
He said he had proposed the bill after careful consideration of the plights of Nigerians who are daily been subjected to terror by agents of darkness.
The lawmaker said, “We all have experienced the lawlessness that is pervading the nation or we know somebody that has experienced it. Somebody who has been kidnapped by kidnappers, militants, or herdsmen. We have come to a point in this country where must make an honest admission to ourselves which is that the security agents cannot really protect lives and properties as enshrined in the constitution.
“The common man is left to his caprices. The common man does not get any kind of support from the police. The police as a force is ill-equipped, ill-funded, and not capable of discharging those onerous duties. That is the basic fact. I am in the Senate committee on police matters and I can tell you that we do not have the number of policemen that we need to secure Nigeria as a country.
“The military on the other hand, I mean, we’ve been spending billions of naira over the years buying warplanes, different kinds of arms and ammunitions in the name of fighting terrorism and other crimes. But they are again not able to deal with the issues. So, a lot of money has been spent, a lot of lives have been lost and we are nowhere near finding a solution. Look, the idea of a bill to enable Nigerians to bear arms is born out of desperation and the fact that people do not have the kind of protection that they need.”