Insecurity: When Society Takes Up Arms in Self-Defense
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Lately, the hydra-headed monster of insecurity in Nigeria is assuming another new dimension, which calls for a concern.
The recent sacking of Mada community in Gusau Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara state by gun-wielding bandit-terrorists and the Owo Church attack were security breaches that hit hard our dear country.
Nonetheless, it is on record that Zamfara in the northwest has since been swarmed by syndicates of criminals who operate with impunity. As a result of these lingering daunting challenges, life has apparently lost its meaning and eventually become hopeless on a daily basis.
Although the Military in collaboration with other host of security agencies have been relentlessly fighting the war against these non-state actors with dedication, commitment and patriotism, however, the situation continued spreading like a wildfire, defying all means of solutions, thus proving difficult to contain.
Out of frustration which is fuelled by this worrisome situation, the Zamfara State Government, under the leadership of Bello Matawalle has recently authorized the residents to take up arms and protect themselves from the series of attacks by the bloodsucking demonds- the bandits.
The information was contained in a statement made available to newsmen by the state commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara on Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Gusau, the State Capital.
Governor Matawalle also added that the government will leave no stone unturned in helping the people to acquire guns and equally facilitate the process of securing license from the State Commissioner of Police.
Dosara had said, “Government has, henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue a license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.”
However, it is good to understand that, this line of action taken by the Governor will not provide the anticipated solution to the problem, but rather worsen and aggravate the situation leading to great consequences. As it stand, this path will ultimately lead to anarchy- breeding a ‘lawless society’. Just imagine a situation where every member of society is wielding a gun, the rate of criminalities will definitely skyrocket to an unprecedented level.
Even though the governor might have acted in desperation to protect his people on issuing this order, the military and the rest of citizens are still not oblivious about the tragedy that the people of Zamfara and other bandits-ravaged states in the north are currently experiencing on a daily basis.
This recent outburst by the Governor has garnered dust among various security architectures of the country. His decision was faulted due to the risky adventure associated with the situation.
While reacting to the development, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana, has emphasized that the embargo on firearms license is still in force, noting that the police have stopped issuing licenses to citizens who wished to own guns as at present.
In the same vein, the Military through the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor has rejected this call by the Governor, noting that the Governor lacked constitutional power to authorize residents to bear arms for self-defense against bandits.
The CDS spoke with newsmen on the matter at the opening of the Joint Exercise for the National Defence College and War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, on National Defense Stray, code named “Exercise Grand Nationale,” in Abuja.
Irabor said; “I believe that, in my view, it is not the right way to go.
“Of course, there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, in particular, the police and other security agencies, are doing to address insecurity in Zamfara and environs.
“Beyond that, of course, there are other legal issues, other issues of governance, issues that the government could have addressed using the instrumentality of the law that are available for him to bring greater peace and security.”
However, the Army General stated that the government and the Attorney General of the Federation will meticulously look into this matter and give further instructions in due course.
In addition, Irabor reiterated that the call was not right, as the armed forces and other security agencies were there to handle the challenges.
It is evident that the coalition of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), which comprises of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, have over the years remains at the forefront fighting the battle against the insurgents in the north east, bandits in the northwest as well as militants and agitators in the southern parts of the country.
During the cause of several operations by the Nigerian troops, a lot of high profile criminals were eliminated, their hideouts ransacked and members of their gang equally liquidated in the process. As a result, many communities especially in Borno liberated from the hands of terrorists.
At the epicenter of these success stories is the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a body responsible for providing intelligence to the Military and also coordinates their activities in collaboration with other sister security agencies.
Also, the giant strides of the Department of State Service (DSS) in the fight against criminal activities can never be downplayed. In fact, they serve as the ‘brains behind the curtains’ in ensuring and enhancing national security.
The DSS has been very instrumental in tackling and neutralizing emerging threats through their mandate of gathering domestic intelligence and transmitting the same to other security institutions for prompt action aimed at maintaining peace and security.
Recently, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello has heaped praise on DSS for their role in restoring normalcy in some parts of the state in collaboration with local hunters and vigilante corps.
He revealed that, deploying service assets (hunters) in the task force team led by the Operatives of the Secret Police, DSS, played a major role in the liberation of areas deserted by residents due to incessant attacks by insurgents in the state.
Bello further outlined some ways of improving security to include “increased support to the security agencies, stakeholder engagement, and expanding the membership of the Task Force through the intervention of the DSS in vetting prospective members of the Vigilante Corps who have been contributing immensely to the security operations in the state.”
Nevertheless, all security agencies should be on top of their game in order to arrest this situation that is about to send the country to anarchical state. Efforts should be made toward patrolling and reclaiming ungoverned spaces that are currently under the control of non-state actors.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest.