#Legal Sense

Unlawful possession of firearms

By Funmilayo Olagunju


Firearms as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary refers to a weapon that expels a projectile (such as a bullet or pellets) by combustion or gunpowder or other explosive.

Section 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act 2004 prohibits the possession of firearms;

Punishment for illegal possession of firearms

(1) Any person having a firearm in his possession or under his control in contravention of the Firearms Act or any order made there under shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall upon conviction under this Act be sentenced to a fine of twenty thousand naira or to imprisonment for a period of not less than ten years, or to both.

Possession is the Hallmark of the offence of unlawful possession of firearms. Attempt and/or likelihood of putting the firearm to use is immaterial. Consequently, the offence is a strict liability offence where intention and motive (mens rea) is not required.

“The essential ingredient of the offence of unlawful possession of firearms is the fact of being found in possession of firearms within the meaning of the Act and the lack of license to possess same”

See the case of BELLO v. STATE

(2018) LPELR-44408(CA)

The apex Court gave the three elements that constitutes unlawful possession of firearms thus;

1. That the accused person was found in possession of a firearm:

2. That the firearm is within the meaning of the Act; and

3. That the accused person has no licence to possess a firearm. See Bille v. State (2016) LPELR – 40832 (SC).

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