The remarks credited to Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State that his administration would assist citizens to acquire arms for self-defence against bandits have continued to elicit reactions.
Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev. John Hayab, Masari’s comment about self-defence was not new to Nigerians and the constitution.
“The only concern we have is that security agencies will use this to arrest more victims whose only sin is having guns to defend themselves, while the criminals will continue to do havoc and will not be arrested.
“When a serving governor repeats that citizens should get weapons to defend themselves, then know that he is aware that our security forces can not defeat the bandits.”
Also, the Spokesperson, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Suleiman Abdulaziz, described the comment as an afterthought from leaders who turned down every suggestion for a collective approach to the security situation in the North.
SIMILARLY, University of Ibadan (UI) Sociology lecturer, Dr. Oludayo Tade, has said Nigerian governments have failed in their responsibility to protect their citizens.
Tade, a security expert and cybercrime researcher, stated that acquiring weapons in the name of self-defence would increase bandit cells and deepen insecurity.
BUT Arewa Defence League (ADL) has thrown its weight behind Masari’s reported plan to support residents in acquiring weapons for self-defence against banditry.
This was contained in a statement released on Wednesday evening by the President of ADL, Murtala Abubakar.
“We welcome with optimism the statement by Masari to the effect that his government is going to assist communities acquire weapons to defend themselves against rural bandits and other criminal gangs,” ADL stated.
The Northern group added that the governor’s action might have been motivated by the “apparent failures of our military and other law enforcement agencies to protect citizens against bandits and other dangerous criminals.