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Insecurity: Senate receives executive bills on gun control, importation of explosives 

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SENATE-PRESIDENT
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan
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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.”

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Defence and Security

Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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Defence HQ Logo
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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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