Members of the House of Representatives were, yesterday, divided in their support for establishment of a commission to mop up small arms and light weapons in Nigeria and West Africa.
While some preferred the move, others said it would have huge financial implications on the country.
They opined that police should instead be more empowered to provide the services, saying the responsibility falls within their jurisdiction.
The bill was sponsored by Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno, APC, Borno.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Monguno said it was the primary responsibility of any government to protect lives and property.
Stressing the need to mop up illegal arms in circulation, he said: “It’s a well known fact beyond the shores of Nigeria that the primary responsibility of any government is the security and welfare of the citizens and any government that fails to exercise this responsibility is not worthy of the name, government.
“But as we have it today, there’s proliferation of small arms and light weapons to the effect that some people have occupied certain areas in Nigeria and declared their caliphate just because they are in possession of small arms and light weapons.
“For government to be seen to be discharging it’s responsibilities, to not only be seen to bark but also bite, it must device means of mopping up these small arms and light weapons from non state actors.”
Contributing in support of the motion, the Deputy Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia), said the establishment of the commission was necessary since the proliferation of arms has persisted.
But Mohammed Umaru Bago (APC, Niger), differed, saying the Police should be well empowered to handle the job.
According to him, it is important for the parliament to work towards reducing the cost of governance.
Bago’s view got support from Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano), who said the parliament should rather enhance the capacity of existing agencies than duplicating them.