Insecurity and “irrationality” of citizens taking up arms

General CDS Lucky Irabor

Insecurity and “irrationality” of citizens taking up arms

By Abdulsalam Mahmud

Everyone knows that Nigeria is plagued by the threat of insecurity. Terrorists, armed bandits, kidnappers and a host of hardened criminals besieged the country.

As the government seems unable to meet the deteriorating security challenge in the country, coupled with the fact that the security agencies also seem overwhelmed, some prominent Nigerians in recent times have been calling on the citizens to arm themselves.

One of the influential Nigerians who advocate self-protection is the Governor of Zamfara State, Alh. Mohammed Bello Matawall.

The governor, it seems, is worried that his state has not known peace due to the heinous activities that marauding bandits have been perpetrating in his state, for some time now.

Recently, he insisted that the citizens of his state carry arms to protect themselves. To carry out its pro-popular plan, Matawall has already inaugurated four committees.

These are: Banditry Intelligence Gathering, Community Protection Guards (CPGs), Prosecuting Banditry Offenses, and the Permanent State Security Group.

He also donated 20 new Toyota Hilux vans and 1,500 motorcycles to facilitate the work of the committees.

As Zamfara’s chief legal adviser, the governor, according to a statement by his press secretary, Jamilu Magaji, told anyone who would listen that he was serious: “We will do everything we can to fulfill this responsibility in the framework of the law. .

“The acquisition and use of firearms by members of the general public who wish to do so would be governed by the Nigerian Firearms Act.”

This is not the first time that a subnational government leader has recommended such seemingly hasty action to citizens to curb insecurity. Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Bello Masari of Katsina State previously echoed similar sentiments.

Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, however, criticized Governor Matawall’s call for the state’s residents to bear arms to defend themselves against the bandits.

Irabor said the call was wrong because the armed forces and other security agencies were there to meet the challenges.

CDS spoke to reporters about the matter at the opening of the joint exercise for the National Defense College and the War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, codenamed “Exercise Grand Nationale”, in Abuja.

Irabor said he has yet to understand the basis for asking Zamfara citizens to bear arms.

He said, however, that it was up to the Attorney General of the Federation to review the constitution and laws to see if the governor had such powers.

“I think, in my opinion, this is not the right way to go.

“Of course, there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, especially the police and other security agencies, are carrying out to combat insecurity in Zamfara and the surrounding area.

“Beyond that, of course, there are other legal issues, other governance issues, issues that the government could have solved by using the instrument of law that are at its disposal to bring more of peace and security.

“But as I said, I don’t intend to say much, but I believe the federal government, using the Attorney General, will review the details of this press release and issue further instructions. .

“If what I read is true, I also don’t think the governor has the power to order the commissioner of police to issue licenses, because the commissioner of police does not have the power to issue licenses.”

Irabor said the armed forces were only an instrument for implementing policies, adding that they did not receive instructions from state governments.

He said the constitution gave rights and powers only to the commander-in-chief for the use of the armed forces.

“I believe that what we are doing in Zamfara and, of course, in all the states of the federation, respects the provisions of the constitution.

“So we are there because we are there to provide support to the civil authority, in this case the police.

“We don’t need to reaffirm what are the problems that led to the deployment of soldiers across the country, but then, as I said, we are doing our best to guarantee the return of peace in all the parts of the country,” he said. .

Regardless of the positions taken by both Matawall and Irabor, it is indeed a grave accusation against the federal government that some leaders of subnational governments, out of frustration, view self-help as a viable option for securing lives and property within their jurisdictions.

This is a dangerous signal for citizens and the international community, to tell the truth. The federal government needs to quickly raise its bids. Undoubtedly, the security situation in the country is serious. And it can only deteriorate unless appropriate actions, backed by the requisite political will, are taken to address the threat of stemming the rising tide.

Mahmud is the deputy editor of PRNigeria

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