The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, May 4, 2023, passed a measure mandating life imprisonment without the possibility of a fine for those convicted of illegally making explosives in the nation, which is an important step toward reducing the use of explosives by criminals and rebels.
The bill, which now awaits President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent, aims to regulate the manufacturing, use, importation, sales, and possession of explosives in Nigeria.
The new legislation, which seeks to repeal the outdated Explosives Act of 1964, was passed following the presentation, consideration, and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development, and Metallurgy.
Senator Adelere Oriolowo, who presented the report on behalf of the committee chairman, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, highlighted the growing challenges posed by the use, shipment, manufacture, sale, and possession of explosives.
“The problem associated with the use, shipment, manufacture, sale, and possession of explosives is huge,” Senator Oriolowo stated. He further explained that criminals have become more innovative in using explosives to carry out nefarious activities, with suicide bombers killing dozens of Nigerians in recent years.
Senator Oriolowo stressed the need for stringent measures to minimize the illegality associated with explosives. “The Explosives Act of 1964 was prepared to meet the situation as at that time. The penalties and fines in the act were too mild compared to the gravity of the offenses being committed by explosive users nowadays,” he said.
He continued, “In line with this, the passing of the bill to checkmate the abuse and menace posed by its use by criminal groups, insurgents, and non-state actors is justified. The manufacture, storage, and use of explosives are not to be an all-comers affair and should be closely regulated. The penalties provided in the bill will serve as deterrence to offenders.”
If signed into law by President Buhari, the bill will mark a significant step in addressing the persistent threats posed by the illegal use of explosives in Nigeria, bolstering national security and the safety of its citizens.
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