Between 2020 to 2024, several bills and pleas have reached the Nigerian Senate regarding the use of firearms. The most recent bill came from Senator Ned Nwoko in January 2024.  His bill called for the introduction of a law allowing civilians in Nigeria to own and carry firearms for self-defence stating insecurity as a major reason. 

The requirements necessary for owning these firearms

as proposed by Senator Nwoko included references from medical doctors, endorsement from local government officials, certification from traditional leaders, and confirmation by the Divisional Police Officer to verify the absence of criminal involvement among others. While this bill has passed its first reading and garnered strong support from other prominent figures, recent events paint this bill as a bad idea. 

On Saturday, March 30 2024, the bodies of three dead and four injured children were recovered after a gunpowder explosion in Taraba state. The  Commissioner of Police, Taraba State Command, CP David Iloyanomon confirmed the incident happened in Didango Geita, a community in Karim Lamido Local Government Area of Taraba State. 

What’s the full story?

The seven victims had reportedly gone to help on a rice farm belonging to the grandfather of one of the deceased. Things took a different turn when an explosion was heard at the site. The eyewitness who reported the event,  Mallam Audu Danjuma, said the villagers broke into a panic thinking it was an IED explosion and contacted the police.

 However, CP David Iloyonomon refuted this claim stating it was a gunpowder explosion from a Dane gun triggered by the children. According to him, the anti-bomb unit has carried out a thorough investigation and confirmed this. The Police commissioner further explained that a bombing or dynamite explosion would have blasted the children’s bodies beyond recognition, leaving no survivors. The positioning of the children’s bodies and pellets of gunpowder found at the scene also supports the police’s findings. This paints a clear picture of what happened and takes away the possibility of an IED explosion or an assailant.

The deceased children, all below the age of 12, were identified as Miracle Danjuma, Liyacheyan Bitrus, and Kefas Bitrus. The injured children, Joseph Danjuma, Leah Aluda, Godbless Hassan, and Christian Hassan, are receiving treatment at the state’s specialist hospital in Jalingo, the state capital.

This brings to question whether firearms are a solution to Nigeria’s insecurity problems or the beginning of many possible problems with accidents like this being one of them. Can the Senate trust Nigerians to only use guns for self-defence and to keep them far away from children or should we potentially expect more cases like this? 



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