The Akwa Ibom High Court presided over by Justice Okon Okon has sentenced a 38-year-old hunter, Edet George, to 10 years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of firearms.
George, married with eight children, was found guilty of being in possession of firearms, contrary to Section 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The section provides that “any person having firearms in his possession or under his control in contravention of the Firearms Act shall upon conviction be sentenced to a fine of N20,000 or to imprisonment for a period of not less than 10 years or both.”
Delivering judgement on Tuesday, Justice Okon said the convict in his evidence did not deny that he had guns, “but rather gave evidence of what he used the guns for, which he inherited from his father.”
Justice Okon said the convict, who admitted that he had two guns and a bullet, saw nothing wrong in having guns as a trained and professional member of the association of hunters with an identity card and a certificate of participation in training programmes conducted in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force.
The judge stated that “the accused person appeared to the court to be a man of truth, who obviously laboured under the false belief that he was entitled to own and possess guns without the need for a licence being a professional hunter involved in community policing.”
The court further held that “the prosecution has, by largely uncontroverted evidence, proved beyond reasonable doubt the essential ingredients of the offence of illegal possession of firearms against the accused.”