I have always been a proponent of the
right of law abiding citizens to own
guns, especially handguns (sometimes
referred to as small arms). The desire by
some people to own assault weapons is
another matter. Even shotguns that are
used for hunting have been condemned
by some people. One of the annoying
things in Nigeria is that armed robbers
can operate in a whole neighborhood,
going from house to house unchecked. If
the residents had guns the armed robbers
dare not do such a thing.
My religious friends will try and
remind me that protection comes from
God alone. That is true, but if stretched to
the extreme, will make us irresponsible
and not security conscious. I have actually
lived in two places within four years
where my neighbors were kidnapped,
and I was not touched. You can humor
me by saying the criminals knew my KV
(kidnap value) was low.
Notwithstanding my pro-gun
perspective, I have had a re-think in
the last week. Maybe I am getting more
conservative on the matter as I approach
a half-century mark. I believe my
views may be influenced by what has
been happening in the last ten days in
America, compared to Nigeria.
The Americans supported by the
powerful national Rifle Association
(NRA) hinge their belief on the right to
own guns on the Second Amendment to
the American Constitution, which was
ratified on December 15, 1791. It states
that “A well regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear
Arms, shall not be infringed.” Most of
the constitutional arguments focus on
the second portion tagged “Right to bear
arms.
Can you imagine disorderly neighbors
arguing in Nigeria? One will just pull
out a gun. How about husband and wife
arguing? Also, Oga will think seriously
before he slaps the houseboy. What about
road rage? Of course, the lecturer that
is demanding sex from the university
student may think twice. In fact, last week
an American professor resigned because
of a new Texas law that will soon allow
students to bring guns on campuses.
In God’s own country, a student killed
a fellow student and wounded three
other students in northern Arizona State
University (See Frederick News-Post,
Saturday, October 15, 2015, p.A3). This is
just as Americans were recovering from
the shock of the killings in Oregon by a
demented Community College Student
with Asperger syndrome.
In a study on Gun Violence in the
US by various agencies including the
National Opinion Research Center
(published by heedinggodscall.com),
we learn that “ The US has an estimated
283 million guns in civilian hands; Each
year about 4.5 million firearms, including
approximately 2 million handguns, are
sold in the United States; More than
30,000 people are killed by firearms each
year in America; More than 30 people are
shot and murdered each day; Homicide
is the second leading cause of death
among 15-24 year-olds.”
In terms of comparative annual gun
homicides: Less than 50 in Japan; Less
than 150 in Germany, Italy, France; Less
than 200 in Canada; and More than By Alex O. Atawa-Akpodiete
I have always been a proponent of the
right of law abiding citizens to own
guns, especially handguns (sometimes
referred to as small arms). The desire by
some people to own assault weapons is
another matter. Even shotguns that are
used for hunting have been condemned
by some people. One of the annoying
things in Nigeria is that armed robbers
can operate in a whole neighborhood,
going from house to house unchecked. If
the residents had guns the armed robbers
dare not do such a thing.
My religious friends will try and
remind me that protection comes from
God alone. That is true, but if stretched to
the extreme, will make us irresponsible
and not security conscious. I have actually
lived in two places within four years
where my neighbors were kidnapped,
and I was not touched. You can humor
me by saying the criminals knew my KV
(kidnap value) was low.
Notwithstanding my pro-gun
perspective, I have had a re-think in
the last week. Maybe I am getting more
conservative on the matter as I approach
a half-century mark. I believe my
views may be influenced by what has
been happening in the last ten days in
America, compared to Nigeria.
The Americans supported by the
powerful national Rifle Association
(NRA) hinge their belief on the right to
own guns on the Second Amendment to
the American Constitution, which was
ratified on December 15, 1791. It states
that “A well regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear
Arms, shall not be infringed.” Most of
the constitutional arguments focus on
the second portion tagged “Right to bear
arms.
Can you imagine disorderly neighbors
arguing in Nigeria? One will just pull
out a gun. How about husband and wife
arguing? Also, Oga will think seriously
before he slaps the houseboy. What about
road rage? Of course, the lecturer that
is demanding sex from the university
student may think twice. In fact, last week
an American professor resigned because
of a new Texas law that will soon allow
students to bring guns on campuses.
In God’s own country, a student killed
a fellow student and wounded three
other students in northern Arizona State
University (See Frederick News-Post,
Saturday, October 15, 2015, p.A3). This is
just as Americans were recovering from
the shock of the killings in Oregon by a
demented Community College Student
with Asperger syndrome.
In a study on Gun Violence in the
US by various agencies including the
National Opinion Research Center
(published by heedinggodscall.com),
we learn that “ The US has an estimated
283 million guns in civilian hands; Each
year about 4.5 million firearms, including
approximately 2 million handguns, are
sold in the United States; More than
30,000 people are killed by firearms each
year in America; More than 30 people are
shot and murdered each day; Homicide
is the second leading cause of death
among 15-24 year-olds.”
In terms of comparative annual gun
homicides: Less than 50 in Japan; Less
than 150 in Germany, Italy, France; Less
than 200 in Canada; and More than
By Ibrahim Biu
The ICT facilities available in the
National Assembly have been
described as the best of its kind in
Africa. Lawmakers and bureaucrats
were of the view that the quality of
the facilities are of high standard at
the internal level. The availability
of such facilities could only be
through the determined efforts of the
management team headed by Alhaji
Salisu Maikasuwa, the Clerk to the
National Assembly (CNA) who took
steps to ensure only the best facilities
and equipments were provided in
an effort to enhance the delivery of
service by the lawmakers.
Recently Dr. Hamalai, the DG of the
Legislative Institute commended the
quality of the equipments and facilities.
Meanwhile it is clear that it is through
the pragmatism of the CNA that civil
servants are being rated highly. Since
he assumed duties as the CNA in
2010 Maikasuwa had after strategic
planning succeeded in introducing
reforms that has now transformed the
assembly’s management as expected
by their political bosses in the two
chambers. The CNA has put up a
strong executive capacity to which
the lawmakers now rely upon to carry
out all its executive functions. The
civil servants are not only proactive
but reliable, transparent, honest and
patriotic in their work.
But more than any other thing,
Maikasuwa has done much better in
terms of infrastructure, manpower
and ICT than all his predecessors since
1999 when the country re-embraced
proper democracy. The infrastructure
at the NASS is far better than those in
other African parliaments.
This writer is of the view that as at
now in Africa no parliament has got
what is available in Nigeria’s National
Assembly even though it could still be
better as attested by a highly placed
government official who recently
visited the United States’ Congress
and the United Kingdom parliament.
The pragmatism of the CNA
not only runs deep when it comes
to service delivery but also in the
handling of the affairs of the assembly
and one would not be wrong in
describing Alhaji Salisu Abubakar
Maikasuwa, as a ‘man of the people.’
This has been exemplified on many
occasions in
overseeing the successful closure
of the 6th and 7th assembly, and the
inauguration of the 8th National
Assembly recently which brought in
Dr. Bukola Saraki and Mr. Yakubu
Dogara as Senate President and
Speaker respectively. Though the
inauguration later turned out to be a
bit
controversial due to the selfish
actions of some lawmakers and
their supporters. The issue has been
amicably resolved now and the
assembly has moved ahead in its
work as witnessed by the passage
of many motions, bills and even the
review of the national budget that is
ongoing.
The current Senate President, Dr.
Bukola Saraki, Hon. Speaker Mr.
Yakubu Dogara and former Senate
president, David mark as well as the
current Sokoto state governor, Aminu
Tambuwal had described Salisu as the
embodiment of hard work, discipline
and a trustworthy technocrat and an
intelligent officer. Alhaji Salisu who
is a study of perseverance and a team
leader has been commended by his
principal officers of the National
Assembly for his courage, conviction,
hard work and loyalty.
Maikasuwa from the outset had
made it known that his clerkship of
the National Assembly will be based
on a team leader’s philosophy, with
every officer in the organogram
assigned official functions and held
accountable to their performance.
Maikasuwa’s wide exposure, life
experience, open door policy and
transparent interactions at all levels
especially on controversial issues and
other related activities has compelled
his traducers and even critics to
agree with his policies as most of the
projects being undertaken are there
for people to see on ground. No
wonder Maikasuwa’s efforts have
pushed him this far thereby enabling
him to break another record with the
provision of the best ICT facilities
that is second to none in the whole of
Africa.
With the timely provision of
required facilities, equipments and a
much needed encouragement by the
workforce, Maikasuwa has redefined
work ethics and camaraderie in
the bureaucracy of the National
Assembly. Performance and progress
have become the features of official
procedure.
Biu writes from Abuja
By Nnimmo Bassey
ReceNT bombings of oil pipelines
in the Niger Delta again raise the
spectre of escalation of conflicts
in the region. While we cannot
say the reasons for the incidents,
it does appear to be calculated
acts of sabotage rather than mere
vandalism. In cases of vandalism
the motive routinely is the stealing
of crude oil or refined petroleum
products. Where pipelines are
bombed in the manner the current
incidents have been reported, the
signal is that these are political
actions. However, no one has
claimed responsibility. That is
against the grain.
It should be noted that political
actions do not have to be partisan
in nature as they can be carried
out by persons or groups that are
simply disenchanted with existing
political system. They could also
be orchestrated by persons or
groups whose vested interests are
threatened. If these are agreed as
possibilities, we should be able
to come to the conclusion that
the recent bombings may not
necessarily be the hand work of
10,000 in USA according to IANSA
(International Action Network on
Small Arms of the United Nations).
In a ten day period, Boko haram
terrorists have killed about thirty
people in North Eastern Nigeria. With
a population of about 160 million, we
usually lose about 2,000 Nigerians
to automobile accident annually.
According to ConnectNigeria.com,
the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC)
issued the following Statistics, “1,936
persons lost their lives in 2012. It is a
12.7% reduction, from the 2,218 deaths
that occurred at the same period in
2011. In 2010 there were 5,330 deaths
and 18,095 injuries from accidents;
in 2011, there were 4,065 deaths and
17,464 injuries. In 2009, 4,120 persons
lost their lives, while 20, 975 people
were injured, in accidents involving
11,031 vehicles. In 2008, 6,661 deaths
occurred, and 27,980 injuries.”
The statistics on Boko Haram
deaths are illuminating, although
not officially maintained by the
Nigerian government. However, a
little international digging helps us.
The Washington Post revealed that
“Boko Haram-related violence is the
most lethal conflict that Nigeria has
confronted in decades. Since 1998, at
least 29,600 Nigerians have been killed
in more than 2,300 incidents reflecting
a wide range of ethnic, religious,
political and economic tensions across
large portions of the country. Since July
2009, when the Boko Haram conflict
escalated, at least 11,100 people have
died on all sides of the insurgency.”
Also, the Nigeria Social Violence
Project, based in the African Studies
Program at the Johns Hopkins
University School of Advanced
International Studies (SAIS), reported
that “From January 1998 –December
2014, the dataset records 32,943 Deaths
from various forms of social violence
in Nigeria.” In 2014 alone, Boko haram
was responsible for approximately
5,500 of the total 7,500 social deaths
in the county. (Credit for the research
goes to Peter Lewis, Nate Allen, Hilary
Matfess, Nadia van de Walle and
Cassady Walter). In another study,
our research reveals that“Fighting
associated with Boko Haram killed
6,347 civilians in 2014, said the Armed
Conflict Location and Event Data
Project (Acled).”
This past week, the world was also
saddened by the bombing of protestors
in the Capital of Turkey, again another
act of one of two possible Islamic
terrorist groups.
Whether the killings are by white
American young men or young
brainwashed Nigerian youths, it
still comes down to mental illness.
Most of these young men usually
have no prior criminal record or
reported involvement with religious
extremism. With the popularity of
social media and the stupendous
availability of home videos, people
have become anti-social today. It has
become more difficult to diagnose or
prevent the onset of mental disease
or social dysfunction. By allowing
guns in Nigeria, we will be increasing
the social violence in the country and
adding to the deaths by Boko haram

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