The Senate yesterday started deliberations on the creation of an agency to curb proliferation of small arms and light weapons across the country.
This followed the second reading of a Bill, titled: “National Commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and for related matters, 2020,” sponsored by Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).
In his lead debate on the general principles of the Bill, Adeyemi said the proposed commission will coordinate and implement activities for checking small arms and light weapons in Nigeria, in line with ECOWAS states on small arms and light weapons.
According to him, the objectives of the Bill include “to identify the sources and main routes of Small Arms, Ammunitions and Light Weapon”.
He said the commission will also help to identify why the illicit trade thrives in the country and liaise with the relevant authorities, agencies and organisations with the aim of tackling the menace.
The proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), Adeyemi said, has been a serious issue in the international agenda since 1998.
He noted that it is a pace of activities that is “eating into the survival of emerging nations in the international scene, especially in Africa”.
“It is a phenomenon that is destabilising the peace, development and threatening the national security of sovereign nations.
“The complications of illegal arms and weapons of terror worldwide informed the _ United Nations (UN), to come up with a programme of action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapon (SALW).
“The local root causes of the conflicts are numerous and diverse. However, in nearly all of the conflicts, the diffusion of illegal arms and weapons of terror, particularly from the industrialized nations to the developing world, has played a decisive role in the escalation, intensification and resolution of these conflicts,” he added.
Most senators supported the Bill, which was approved for second reading when Senate President Ahmad Lawan put it to voice vote.