NATFORCE seeks special courts to try illegal arms’ carriers

THE National Taskforce on the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Small Arms, Ammunitions and Light Weapons (NATFORCE) is pushing for the establishment of special courts to prosecute offender.

Besides, the body also asked the Federal Government to hold accountable perpetrators of election violence within and outside the government in the interest of lasting peace in the country.

It said that considering the widespread killings and destruction of property during the 2019 general elections; the establishment of special courts for conveyors and carriers of illegal arms has become imperative.

NATFORCE Director-General Osita Emmanuel Okereke, who took stock of the elections at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, noted that though the polls on a general note, could be said to be successful, those responsible for the violence that characterised the exercise in some states must be held accountable.

He said that sanctioning those responsible for the killings and general insecurity would go a long way to sanitise future elections in the country.

Citing Rivers State, Okereke insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari should ensure that the interest of an individual in the state does not put the people’s lives in danger or ruin the future of electoral process in the state.

Okereke said: “The individual in question knows that his popularity in the state has expired. Nobody should be allowed to make the state ungovernable for the government and people of the state. It is completely uncalled for and steps should be taken to bring the state to normal.”

To stem the tide of election violence in some states, the NATFORCE boss urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to carry its members along in the conduct of any supplementary election.

He said: “As INEC prepares to conduct re-run elections in some states, we plead with the commission to carry our agency along in the conduct of the election for the purposes of ensuring that the ugly incident that marred the initial efforts to have a free and fair election in some states is not repeated.”

The special courts, he said, should be set up to try those caught with illegal arms and ammunitions to ensure quick dispensation of justice .

Okereke said the measure would also aid in ridding the country of incidences of Boko Haram, kidnapping and wanton destruction of lives and property.

According to him, the immediate establishment of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Illegal Importation of Small Arms, Ammunitions and Light Weapons by the Federal Government was overdue.

He noted that a bill sponsored to that effect by the agency was awaiting concurrence in the Senate after scaling the third reading in the House of Representatives.

Okereke appealed to the leadership of the Eighth Senate to ensure passage of the bill before the expiration of its life span in June.

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