The acting Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has announced the establishment of an ad hoc committee tasked with the comprehensive review of firearms licensing and regulations by the Nigeria Police Force in line with the Firearms Act and other extant laws in the interest of public safety and general security.
On Monday, the police high command revealed that the committee’s mandate would encompass a thorough assessment of current firearms licensing procedures and regulations to enhance their effectiveness, transparency, and accountability.
The Force Headquarters also said the police will engage with relevant stakeholders, including legal experts, civil society organizations, and experts in the field, to ensure a holistic and well-informed review.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, revealed this in an official correspondence on Monday.
Adejobi said, “Similarly, in furtherance of his zeal to tackle all forms of insecurity in the country, the IG has issued a stern warning to all individuals involved in the wrongful possession of arms and light weapons, reiterating that the illegal proliferation of firearms and light weapons poses a significant threat to the peace and stability of our nation.
“In light of this, the Nigeria Police Force is resolutely determined to combat the illegal fabrication, sales, possession, and use of arms, emphasizing that possessing firearms without the appropriate licenses and permits is not only a violation of the law but also a grave danger to society. He assured that the Nigeria Police Force would spare no effort in pursuing and prosecuting those engaged in these illegal activities to the full extent of the law.
“The Inspector General of Police has charged all state Commissioners of Police and supervising Assistant Inspectors-General of Police in charge of Zonal Commands and tactical squads to commence a total clampdown on the illegal fabrication, sale, possession, and use of prohibited firearms in the country.
“He equally urged all Nigerians to report suspicious activities related to firearms to their local police divisions or via the various NPF social media platforms for prompt response.”
The Force Headquarters announced that the NPF had stopped the issuance of licenses for small arms due to the high rate of illegal arms proliferation in the country.
Egbetokun disclosed this while responding to a question by our correspondent during his (IG’s) meeting with members of the Police Management Team, including Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, and Commissioners of Police, at the Goodluck Jonathan Peacekeeping Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“We are mopping up arms in circulation. There are too many arms in circulation, and if we continue to issue licenses on arms, we may continue to aggravate the problems we are trying to solve,” Egbetokun said.
However, he further noted that the police might review the ban in the future.
“For now, there is a temporary ban on the issuance of firearms. We may review it later, but we are not issuing firearms licenses nationwide now.”
The Firearm Act has provided for the control of firearms in Nigeria for the past few years.
The Act provides that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition unless such person has a license from the President or the Inspector General of Police.