Ayo Arise, former senator and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, says the federal government should allow citizens to bear arms.

Arise said this on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television Programme, on Tuesday.

 

He said this against the backdrop of the recent report by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), which said out of 500 million illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million which represent 70 percent, are domiciled in Nigeria.

 

The former chairman senate committee on privatisation also said no amount of police protection can ensure Nigerians’ safety. He said the security challenges can be curbed if citizens are allowed to bear arms.

“When you look at the question of ammunition, 350 million; where do we start from, we have such porous borders; people can come in from anywhere, and of course there have been agitations. I am one of those who think that Nigeria should allow people to bear arms,” he said.

 

“Because when others have ammunition, and you are totally helpless, they go on a rampage. For example, if these bandits realise that you might be carrying arms, you will see that there will be mutually assured destruction. And it is going to be a way of deterrent.

 

“The question is that if you fortify the police stations, how many policemen do you want to distribute around to guard every Nigerian. That is why I am advocating for Nigerians to bear arms. The situation can be tempered down a little bit.”

 

On February 2021, Uba Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, sponsored a bill seeking to impose stiffer penalties on those bearing illegal firearms as a result of the rising security challenges in the country.

 

A public hearing was held by the senate on April 19 to look into the amendment of the Firearms Act 2004 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010.

 

At the public hearing, Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters, said the purpose of the proposed amendments to the two bills is to further strengthen “our extant laws against illegal firearms possession and proliferation as well as making provisions of the Act on Exclusive Economic Zone to be in line with global practices as far as protection of the nation’s territorial sea or waters are concerned”.