The House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rescind his decision to withdraw licensed guns from their owners.
This is due to the adoption of a motion, which came under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, titled: “Motion on the Need for Mr. President to Rescind the Executive Order to Remove, Revoke and Banish all Firearms Certificates and Licences Throughout the Country,” at the plenary.
The lawmakers said the executive order cannot override an act of parliament.
Sponsored by Nnenna Ukeje, representing Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State, she said the motion became necessary due to media reports that the President recently signed an executive order compelling all gun owners to surrender their licensed guns to the state authorities, with the aim of checkmating the rising cases of banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the country.
In their submission , the lawmakers argued that licensed guns weren’t the ones used to perpetrate crimes.
According to the members, withdrawing the guns would further expose law abiding Nigerians to danger, as they would be the target of “mindless criminals and bandits.”
They called on the security agencies to rather go after the criminals, who were carrying out their nefarious acts with unlicensed guns.
Moving the motion, Ukeje said: “The House notes with concern the rising spate of insecurity in our country, and worried that insecurity which was hitherto confined to the North-East, the North-Central states has spread rapidly to the North-Western states and all other parts of the country.
“The House is further worried that there is an increased number of deaths resulting from terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and other violent crimes, as it notes that in response to the local and international outcry and concern for Nigeria security situation, Mr. President signed an executive order to remove, revoke and banish all guns certificates and licences throughout the federation.
“It is concerned that this omnibus order targets illegal gun owners and their guns, while there doesn’t seem to be institutional actionable policy or plan to mop up small arms and light weapons that are at the centre of these crimes.
Contributing to the debate, Edwards Pwajok from Plateau State, stated that withdrawing duly licensed guns would make the owners vulnerable.
“Government should not expose Nigerians to all forms of attack because criminals will not go for licence because that will expose them. I think he (President Buhari) should rescind that order and do every thing possible to mop up illegal guns.
‘’This order does not serve any purpose other than increase insecurity. I think the President should rescind that decision. It is ill-advised, and I think that this House should rise as one to support this motion,” he said.