Gun Control Law: The Way Forward To End Herdsmen Banditry In Nigeria
1.1 Background Of The Study
Gun laws in Nigeria are often enacted with the intention of reducing the use of small arms in criminal activity, specifying weapons perceived as being capable of inflicting the greatest damage and those most-easily concealed (such as handguns and other short-barreled weapons). Persons restricted from legal access to firearms may include those below a certain age or having a criminal record. Firearm licenses may be denied to those felt most at risk of harming themselves or others, such as persons with a history of domestic violence, alcoholism or substance abuse, mental illness, depression or attempted suicide. Those applying for a firearm license may have to demonstrate competence by completing a gun-safety course and show provision for a secure location to store weapons ( Noah A. 2020). Countries which regulate access to firearms will typically restrict access to certain categories of firearms and then restrict the categories of persons who may be granted a license for access to such firearms. There may be separate licenses for hunting, sport shooting (a.k.a. target shooting), self-defense, collecting, and concealed carry, with different sets of requirements, permissions, and responsibilities.
Away from the Fulani’s origins and way of life. The Fulani, who were once nonviolent and nomadic, seemed to have changed their strategy and attitude to going about their life to where shooting and abduction play a role in pastoralism yielding to increase in banditry activities. Banditry is a type of organized crime committed by outlaws typically involving the threat or use of violence.
The present experience in Nigeria attests to a change in philosophy of the group. Where the Fulani in the course of carrying out their pastoral nomadic activities have changed tactics from mere land grazing to barrel-induced-land grazing, from staff to gun. Armed Herders migrating into the savannah and rain forests of the central and southern states are moving into regions where high population within the last decades has heightened pressure on farmland, increasing the frequency of disputes over crop damage, water pollution and cattle theft and In the absence of mutually accepted mediation mechanisms, these disagreement increasingly turn violent.
However this has brought to numerous question to as, Is Nigeria Gun Control Law effective as stipulated in the Act of Chapter 146 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990, how did the herdsmen, bandit and terrorist groups get to carry this guns? What are the sources of these firearm? And other related question. Hence if Nigeria has a Gun control law, why are those who are in possession of arms not investigated and brought to book. Why is there increase in possession of arm by herdsmen without licence?. if banditry will ever end then it must start by tackling unnecessary possession of fire arms by individuals without registered or licensed as this would help to track whomsoever that fire arm. Therefore it is upon this premise that this research seek to examine Gun Control Law: the way forward to end herdsmen banditry in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The spread of violence into southern states is aggravating the already strained ties among the country’s major regional, ethnic and religious groups. The majority Christian communities in the south are resentful of the influx of mainly Muslim herders, who are depicted in some narratives as a ‘‘Islamisation force.” Herdsmen are predominantly Fulani, which adds an ethnic dimension to the conflict.
More so the rising insecurity in the northwest—vicious attacks on local communities and kidnapping of people by criminal groups in the region—is being described by state officials as banditry. In spite of government efforts, the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating. Indeed, the lingering conflict between herders and farmers in north-central Nigeria has been rated six times deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency. The recent abductions of schoolboys in Kankara community, Katsina State and in Niger State are more examples of the deplorable state of security in the country.
True, Nigeria needs gun control. We cannot continue to exist in this gun-dominated society where life can be cut short at the least prompting (Noah A. 2020). On the other hand, for the current gun control efforts to be successful they must not only be transparent; but they must also be seen to be transparent. Instead of any form of double standard, the rule of engagement must be the same.The Fulani herdsmen, the bandit groups, terrorist groups, militants, and, indeed, every Nigerian, must come under the laws. There must be an impartial and unbiased umpire, probably a committee of eminent Nigerians, to enforce compliance. Illegal possession of guns and sources of firearms, manufacturing, importation and sales of gun should be investigated if banditry want to be curbed in Nigeria. Therefore it is against this backdrop that this study is set to examine Gun Control Law: the way forward to end herdsmen banditry in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective Of The Study
The focus of this study is to examine Gun Control Law: as the panacea to end herdsmen banditry in Nigeria. Specifically the study will examine if the established gun control Act have been effective in Nigeria. It will investigate the rate of herdsmen possession of Gun in Nigeria. It will examine if high rate of arm possession by herdsmen results to banditry. It will investigate if Gun Control Law can curb the rate of herdsmen banditry.
1.4 Significance Of The Study
This study will be significant to policy makers on the need to revisit the Gun Control Act in regard to curbing the unnecessary possession of arms by herdsmen without registration or license which makes carrying out of violent crimes easy. It will awaken the Government on the need to establish an impartial and unbiased umpire, probably a committee of eminent Nigerians, to enforce compliance. It will enable law enforcement agencies to trace the source of gun in the country, trace sources of gun in the country, track manufacturers of local guns and bring to book those caught possessing and firing arms. The study will contribute to the body of knowledge, serving as a reference material, and give opportunity for further academic research on this field.
1.5 Scope Of The Study
The scope of this study is to examine Gun Control Law as the panacea to end herdsmen banditry in Nigeria. Specifically the study will examine if the established gun control Act have been effective in Nigeria. It will investigate the rate of herdsmen possession of Gun in Nigeria. It will examine if high rate of arm possession by herdsmen results to banditry. It will investigate if Gun Control Law can curb the rate of herdsmen banditry. However the study is delimited to a selected Local Government in Ebonyi State.
1.6 Research Question
The following research question guides the study
- What is the extent of herdsmen possession of guns in Nigeria?
- Do you think that the high rate of arm possession by herdsmen has results to banditry?
- Do you think there is a need to revisit the established gun control Act of Chapter 146 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990?
- Do you think that Gun Control Law can curb the rate of herdsmen banditry.
- Do you think that Gun Control Law is a panacea to end the current herdsmen banditry activities?
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Gun control is the set of laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians.
Banditry is a type of organized crime committed by outlaws typically involving the threat or use of violence. A person who engages in banditry is known as a bandit and primarily commits crimes such as extortion, robbery, and murder, either as an individual or in groups.
The action of forcibly taking someone away against their will. It is always synonymous to kidnapping which is criminal offense consisting of the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or fraud or the unlawful seizure and detention of a person against his will.
Gun Control Law: The Way Forward To End Herdsmen Banditry In Nigeria
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