The Senate has received two executive bills transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to control the proliferation of arms and regulate the importation and exportation of explosives in the country.
They are: the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill 2021; and Explosives Bill 2021.
The transmission of both bills were accompanied by two separate letters dated the 26th and 27th August, 2021, respectively.
The letters were read during the commencement of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari, in the letter which accompanied the Explosives Bill 2021, explained that request for the consideration and eventual passage of the bill was made pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
According to him, “the Explosives Bill 2021 seeks to repeal the Explosives Act 1964 and enact the Explosives Act, to regulate the manufacture, storage, possession, use, distribution, purchase, sale, transportation, importation, and exportation of explosives and for related matters.”
In the second letter dated 26th August, 2021, President Buhari requested the upper chamber to consider the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill 2021, as means to curb the spate of insecurity across the country.
The letter reads in part: “Pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith, the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill 2021 for the kind consideration of the Senate.
“The Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons Bill 2021 seeks to transform the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons into a National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons under the office of the National Security Adviser.
“National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, when fully operational used, would go a long way at expressing Nigeria’s optimism and practical commitment to the global fight against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, including the mopping up of existing Small Arms and Light Weapons which have become a significant driver of insecurity across the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Zamfara Govt Dethrones Two Emirs, District Head Accused Of Aiding Banditry
The Zamfara State government has dethroned two emirs and a district head over allegations of aiding the activities of bandits terrorising communities in the state.
Those affected by the government’s decision include the Emir of Zurmi, Abubakar Atiku, Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, as well as Sulaiman Ibrahim who used to be the District Head of Birnin Tsaba.
Mr Ibrahim Dosara, who is the Commissioner for Information in Zamfara, made the announcement on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Gusau, the state capital.
“The council has approved the deposition of Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and that of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Umar,” he declared.
“The council also approved the immediate removal of the District Head of Birnin-Tsaba, Alhaji Sulaiman Ibrahim.”
According to the commissioner, the government has also ordered that all land titles issued by the affected traditional leaders be revoked.
“The State Executive Council has also directed the state Ministry of Justice to issue an executive order to back up the council resolution,” he added.
The deposition of the traditional leaders comes 10 months after they were suspended by the state government.
It also comes days after the submission of the reports of the committees set up by the state government to investigate the allegations against the affected traditional rulers.
“The council upheld the recommendation of a six-man white paper committee set up by the government to review the report of two separate committees earlier set up to investigate the involvement of the three traditional rulers in the activities of banditry in the state,” said a statement by Governor Bello Matawalle’s media aide, Zailani Bappa.
“The three impeached royal fathers were earlier suspended by the state government following wide allegations of serious involvement in the act of banditry in the state.
“The findings of the committees also revealed abuse of the Land Act in their domain and the government ordered the reversal to status quo involving the lands illegally allocated.”
Senate Passes Amended Terrorism Act, Criminalises Payment Of Kidnap Ransom
The Senate has prohibited the payment of ransoms to kidnappers in its bid to complement the Federal Government’s effort to tackle the disturbing spate of insecurity in the country.
Payment of kidnap ransom was criminalised by the lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary in Abuja as they passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The prohibition by the lawmakers followed the receipt and consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters on the bill.
Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who chairs the committee, had moved that the lawmakers receive the report after which he presented it for consideration.
Thereafter, the lawmakers resolved into the committee of the whole to consider the report, clause by clause, and reverted to plenary to report progress.
This led to the reading of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the third time and its subsequent passage.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, congratulated his colleagues on the passage of the bill which he said was very important.
“It is believed here in the Senate that this bill, by the time it is signed into Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated vices,” he said.
“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security issues of Nigeria but even the economy of the country.
I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon.”
According to Lawan, the fight against insecurity is not the sole purpose of a government and the contributions and support of the citizens are essential.
He explained that this was because the security agencies need critical information to tackle terrorism, kidnapping, and other threats to the nation’s security.
The Senate President stated that the security agencies were trying their best but needed to do more and achieve better results.
“With this, once again, I want to congratulate the Senate for this very important piece of legislation,” he concluded.
DSS Alerts on renewed Bomb Explosions
The Department of State Services (DSS) has said some criminal elements plan to return the country to the pre-2015 era reminiscent of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks on soft and hard targets in parts of the country.
The Public Relations Officer of the security agency, Dr Peter Afunanya, raised the alarm in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
He stated that while the DSS has received reports on cases of such incidents in some areas, it has uncovered a plot by suspected criminal gangs to forge an alliance.
Their objective, Afunanya explained, was to launch further attacks on critical infrastructure and other public places frequently visited, such as worship and relaxation centres, especially during and after the holidays and festive celebrations.
He added that the groups intend to achieve some self-serving interests and cause fear among the people, and warned managers and owners of such centres to be cautious and implement basic security measures to deter the threats.
The DSS said it would continue to disrupt the trend and pattern of violent attacks and asked the people to go about their lawful businesses
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