SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS: Sen Nwoko sparks debate with call for civilians to own guns in wake of security concerns

Nigerian Senator Ned Nwoko has ignited a national debate by calling for a bill that would allow civilians to own and carry firearms.


Citing the country’s ongoing security challenges, including kidnappings, banditry, and violent attacks, Nwoko, via a statement on Thursday, said that responsible gun ownership could empower citizens to defend themselves and their families.

The senator’s proposal comes amidst rising public anxiety about insecurity, particularly in rural areas where law enforcement presence is often limited. Proponents of the bill argue that armed civilians could deter criminals and provide an immediate response to threats, potentially reducing violent incidents.

While dissecting the content of the bill when he featured on Arise TV’s Morning Show on Thursday, Nwoko listed the criteria for Nigerians to bear arms as contained in the bill to include references from two medical doctors certifying mental fitness.


Others include endorsement from the local government chairman for community validation, a traditional leader’s certification, and confirmation by the Divisional Police Officer to verify the intending bearer’s criminal record.

He said, “Talking about my bill, it is not just about people carrying arms, or just going into a store to buy arms, there are measures that have been proposed and they are very strict. In America, every citizen has a right to bear arms and it is enshrined in their constitution. In Nigeria, it is not so.

“So, what I am trying to do specifically is to have a system where people who are willing to carry arms are given the opportunity. One of the first conditions to be met is that every local government area must have a gun shooting school and if you want to bear arms, the first thing to do is to get trained on how to use it and in every local government area, there will be shooting schools run by former military officers which are owned by them.

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“Now, when you have been certified to have gone through the training, the next thing you will do will be to go to your King, Emir, or Oba who will give you a letter certifying that you’re from that particular place and the next thing is to go to two doctors and those two doctors must certify that you are mentally fit to bear arms and then you go to your local government chairman who must also confirm that you’re from that particular LG. Then, you’d go to the Divisional Police Officer of that locality and the DPO must confirm that you do not have any criminal records and you’re not a wanted person.”

Nwoko’s bill, titled “My Amendment Bill on Controlled Firearms Ownership,” hasn’t yet been formally introduced to the Senate. However, its mere proposition has sparked a nationwide conversation about the delicate balance between public safety, individual rights, and potential risks associated with widespread gun ownership in Nigeria.

Whether the bill gains traction or not, the debate it has ignited is likely to continue, forcing Nigerians to grapple with complex questions about security, self-defense, and the potential consequences of allowing civilians to arm themselves.

Meanwhile, users on X have reacted to the senator’s suggestion, which has worked a debate. Below re some reactions:

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