The Senate on Wednesday passed the Bill recommending life imprisonment without the option of fine for unlawful explosives manufacturers in the country.
Section 11 of the Bill, seeking to repeal the Explosives Act 1964 and enact the Explosives Act 2023 passed for third reading by the Senate on Wednesday, recommends life imprisonment without the option of a fine as punishment for any person who unlawfully manufactures any explosives in the country.
The passage followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy, chaired by Tanko Al-Makura.
The Bill states that “Any person who unlawfully manufactures any explosives, commits an offence and is liable to conviction to life imprisonment without an option of fine.”
Adelere Oriolowo (APC, Osun), who presented the report on behalf of the committee chairman, said the problem associated with the use, shipment, manufacture, sale and possession of explosives is huge.
The lawmaker said criminals were getting more innovative in the use of explosives to perpetrate crimes.
He said suicide bombers had killed dozens of Nigerians using explosives.
According to him, there was a need to put offenders in their place so that illegality associated with explosives would be reduced to the barest minimum.
He said, “The Explosives Act of 1964 was prepared to meet the situation at that time. The penalties and fines in the act were too mild compared to the gravity of the offences being committed by explosive users nowadays.
“In line with this, the passing of the Bill to checkmate the abuse and menace posed by its use by criminal groups, insurgents and non-state actors is justified.
“The manufacture, storage and use of explosives are not to be an all-comers affair and should be closely regulated. The penalties provided in the bill will serve as deterrence to offenders.”
The Bill is expected to be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence before the President’s assent.
The Senate also set machinery in motion for the establishment of a tribunal for strict implementation of the audit report as adopted by both chambers of the National Assembly.
The need for an Audit Report Tribunal came to the fore in the Senate when the Bill sponsored by its Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Mathew Urhoghide ( PDP Edo South), was considered and passed for second reading.
Urhoghide, in his lead debate on the Bill seeking an Act to provide for strict implementation of the National Assembly recommendations on Annual Federal Audit Reports and for related matters, said the proposed legislation was very necessary for the potency of the war against corruption.
According to him, for the war against corruption to be effective, findings and recommendations made in audit reports must be strictly implemented or enforced.
“It’s not enough for the National Assembly as provided for in Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution to expose corruption through required investigation, but go further to ensure strict implementation of resolutions made,” he said.
Similarly the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, said the missing link of strict implementation of resolutions taken by the National Assembly on yearly audit reports must be addressed.
“The proposed legislation is very necessary. Something in the mode of a Tribunal is needed for strict implementation of recommendations in the form of prosecution of offenders.
“Public Hearing on this Bill must be thoroughly conducted on how the Tribunal would be put in place as a potent way of fighting corruption,” he added.