Nigeria’s pro-gun bill as an evil plan
If you care to know, I think it’s beyond time to conduct psychological and psychiatric evaluations on some Nigerian politicians to truly determine what is on their minds so that urgent prescriptions could be written up and administered. One of such politicians is the House Committee Chairman on Defence and Security who was on Channels Sunrise Daily last September. He was touting his ongoing success with a bill that is coursing through different stages and ultimately aimed to arm every Nigerian 18-year-old and above.
The ‘Firearms Amendment Bill,’ sponsored by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun, states in section 2 subsection 3, that “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), a person shall be entitled to the grant of a licence or permit under this Act if, at the time of application, the person: at least eighteen years of age” and “has a psychological evaluation certificate from a government hospital not more than six months, has a vision quality certificate from a government hospital not more than six months, has a police clearance certificate not more than twelve months, has a rifle club membership of at least six months and a firearms proficiency certificate issued by the club, and has a national identification number.”
When I saw this broadcast, I shared my frustration on my group’s social media platform (WhatsApp). Now, thinking this, I’m washed over with more angst knowing that the November 30, 2021, blood-curdling murdering of four students by Ethan Crumbley, 15, at Oxford High School in the Detroit sub-urb of Oxford Township, Michigan, United States, is a real possibility in Nigeria, if not worse.
While the victims, their families, and everyone else are still aghast at that mass bloodletting, not many of us can make the real connection of a replica of that type of thing happening in Nigeria (as if scores of banditries, mass kidnappings, etc., are not enough).
On the said Channels Sunrise Daily programme, Esther Maupe Ogun-Yusuf was hosting and unfortunately, her questioning was tepid. As if her station’s broadcast licence would be revoked or suspended, the Abuja-based hostess of the programme showed clear inability or unwillingness to ask: of whose interest is it (in other words, who were his sponsors – the unseen hands propping him to champion this dastardly project)?
Also, Ogun-Yusuf was either naïve, fearful, ignorant, or a combination of all, to do her due diligence to find out what has been the fate of countries (chief among them, U.S. which we’re wont to sheepishly mimic), where firearms use has become common place as opposed to countries with stricter gun laws like Japan, Canada, UK and Australia. She merely papered over the issue, even wished the lawmaker well, and rushed off to a commercial break. I was so incensed.
It is frustrating plots are planned, successfully hatched and perfectly executed possibly by foreign actors in collusion with moles from within and we would be aware of it only after the effect. It must not be lost on us that this has long been a common strategy (legally or illegally, e.g., the tobacco industry) in the play book of ‘invasive species’ at different sectors of the society, and even as we speak – scourge of methamphetamine (a.k.a., mkpụrụ-miri). For instance, evidence of the influence of U.S. National Rifle Association’s fueling of arms violence in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, etc., are available in public record.
Who in their right mind would rather prefer to arm his citizens, including teenagers, at this desperate time of need and deprivation? Is it not mind numbing that our own dishonorable and visionless lawmaker thinks it wise to be a pawn in the opening of a massive arms market by foreign defence manufacturing ammunition industry, rather than initiate development projects that would gainfully engage the hapless marauding masses?
This is happening at a time when there is a crying need for the restoration of the psyche of our youths from the present level of unprecedented insecurity, hunger, unemployment, cultism in schools and the depraved Big Brother Nigeria TV episodes. Rather, the lawmaker thinks that flushing the streets with arms and ammunition is the next best thing that would take Nigeria to greater heights.
Such is the workings of the warped minds of the parents of Ethan, James and Jennifer Crumbley, who presented him with the military-styled weapon as a Christmas gift with which he massacred his school mates. More sullied is the mind of Republican representative, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a known gun rights advocate, who made a Christmas card photo of him and his family posing with seven assault guns – even as the bereaved families in Michigan could have any time to wipe their tears or least of all, bury their kids (https://www.itv.com/news/2021-12-06/politician-slammed-for-family-photo-posing-with-guns-days-after-school-shooting).
Here are some stats to mull over: Michigan (alone) has had over 100 mass shootings with four or more victims since 2014 (this is ONE out of 50 states). And according to White House & Brown University Costs of War project, 65, 000 veterans have died by suicide since 2010 (mostly by firearms). That is eight times more than the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wars!
To quote directly from a recent BBC report, there were 14,400 gun-related homicides in 2019 in the U.S. Killings involving guns accounted for nearly three quarters of all homicides in the U.S. in that year. That’s a larger proportion of homicides than in Canada, Australia, England and Wales, and many other countries (get more from here, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081). This is a glaring public health and socio-cultural matter and if these facts were duly researched and evaluated, the Nigerian lawmaker cannot be allowed to pull the wool over our collective eyes the way he is doing. There is still time to retreat from the precipice. Right reasoning must reign.
Iyioke holds a PhD.