The Senate has declared the nation is under siege from murderous non-state actors whose activities are threatening the existence of the nation.
The position of the upper legislative chamber is further corroborated by the United Nations which revealed that 70% of illegal arms in West Africa are domiciled in Nigeria.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), revealed that out of 500 million illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70%, are in the hands of criminally minded people in Nigeria.
Making the frightening submissions at the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Uba Sani representing the Kaduna Central Senatorial district said the country needs to urgently address the worrisome situation.
The public hearing was on the proposed amendment of the Navy and Marine Transport on Firearms Act 2004 and the amendment of the 2021 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill 2021.
Uba Sani who is the sponsor of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill lamented that the proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country with little or no control by relevant authorities has posed complications for the collective survival of Nigerians and Nigeria.
He said: “We are gathered here to deal with a matter that has profound implications for our collective survival.
“We are under siege from murderous non-state actors.
“They have been acquiring arms illegally, maiming our people and threatening the continued existence of our dear nation.
“We either take measures to deny them of the oxygen that sustains their nefarious activities, or we watch helplessly as they overrun us and our country.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele, said the purpose of the two bills was 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 is concerned.