The Nigeria Police Force has said it is not aware of the Executive Order reportedly issued by President Muhammadu Buhari to revoke licences for firearms or short guns nationwide.
The Executive Order, according to reports, is to take effect from June 1 (today).
The President was said to have signed the order on May 22, 2019, in response to threats by some Niger Delta militants to declare a Niger Delta Republic and secede from Nigeria.
But, the police denied knowledge of the order barely 24 hours after the National Assembly, through the Federal House of Representatives, passed a resolution asking Buhari to reverse it in the interest of Nigerians.
The resolution followed the consideration and 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 contended that the Executive Order cannot override an Act of Parliament, just as they urged the President to sign into law the bill on the Establishment of the (National) Commission against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
The green chamber said many citizens would be left vulnerable and would be at the mercy of mindless criminals, terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, if the order was not rescinded.
The lawmakers argued that licensed guns were not the ones used to perpetrate crimes, noting that withdrawing the guns would further expose law-abiding Nigerians to danger as they would become the target of “mindless criminals and bandits.”
They called on security agencies to rather go after the criminals carrying out their nefarious acts with unlicensed guns.
According to reports, the Executive Order mandates the police and other security agencies to confiscate all firearms in the possession of Nigerians.
If implemented, thousands of Nigerians would lose their licensed arms which may increase their vulnerabilities.
But the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said he was “not aware” of the order.
Responding to Saturday PUNCH enquiries on Friday about the implementation of the order for revocation of firearms licences, the police spokesman simply said, “I am not aware of the order and we cannot confirm the order.”
Mba declined further comments, saying that was all he could say on the matter.