Senator Shehu Sani says there are more sophisticated arms in the hands of anonymous people than we have in stock as a state.
Speaking at plenary on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Sani expressed concerns that sophisticated weapons are getting to the hands of the wrong people. A situation, he said, would make Nigeria an AK-47 nation.
The lawmaker blamed the influx of arms into Nigeria on the political class who according to him, employ violence as means of assuming and remaining in power.
Sani who condemned the killings in the country further called for a political reorientation.
He noted that there are more arms in the hands of bandits than in the control of the military.
His words: “There are more firearms in this country than we have tractors. The proliferation of arms is central and key to the destabilizing the peace of Nigeria. I have heard suggestions of inviting security chiefs to come and brief us on the issue of proliferation of firearms. But no matter how many of them we invite here, the central issue is the political class is complicit in the proliferation of arms in Nigeria.
“It is not possible for our security agencies to bring an end to the violence, killings, bloodshed and proliferation of arms in this country as long as the political class includes violence as party of their political strategy to retain political power or to assume political power.
“We are becoming an AK-47 nation. People are killed every day and our country is becoming a failed state. It is a concern to every Nigerian today that the state is failing. People in rural areas and isolated places are being killed and all we can do is condole, condemn, deliberate, discuss and offer one-minute-silence and the silence continues.
“We must not deceive ourselves. The scale of arms in this country is has the capability and capacity to bring an end to our nation as a republic.
“The motion before us here brings to spotlight the reality of the Nigerian state. It should also touch our conscience that we must move fast. There is a limit to what the security agencies can do in a political atmosphere where the people in power are openly advocating and canvassing for violence.
“Hardly, in this country, will you find a politician who does not have a reserve of arms and services which he deploys during congresses, primary and general elections.
“Until we have a new national reorientation where people should not see politics as a do or die affair but as an opportunity to serve, this problem may not end. We have seen violence in the northeast, north-central and it is about the proliferation of arms. We have seen theories, conjectures and hypothesis saying all these arms come from Libya. What happened to our border guards, military, customs and immigration? What happened to the billions of naira spent on protecting our borders?
“It is unfortunate that we are moving towards the 2019 general elections and the handwriting on the wall is very clear. People are adopting the act of violence to retain their office and assume office.
“We have a duty as a parliament to bring out laws but the fundamental issue is that our political orientation and culture is one that promotes, aides, and abates violence. Political parties in Nigeria were not founded on any ideology but as a vehicle for assuming political offices. They have prepared to do so by all means.
“Violence is not simply about herdsmen and insurgents but we have seen an institutionalized adoption and adaptation of violence as a policy and strategy of people in the position of power.
“The political class teach the people how to use guns. You bring them in. It is everywhere on the pages of the newspaper. We have even seen violence on this floor here and nothing was done about it. So, what are you inviting the security chiefs to come and do?
“We need to change our political orientation from the top to down. People were killed in Brinin-Gwari local government and even the Army have withdrawn from the area because they do not have enough firepower to confront the herdsmen and bandits.
“There are more sophisticated arms in the hands of anonymous people than we have in stock as a state," he added.
Earlier, Senator Suleman Hunkuyi had raised a motion on the proliferation of firearms into Nigeria.
The Senate resolved to invite the security chiefs over the matter.