The recent calls by some prominent Nigerians for self defence in the face of insecurity in the country are unfortunate and an indication that the Federal Government has failed woefully securitywise.
And if care is not taken and the Federal Government continues with its lukewarm attitude in addressing insecurity in the country, there will definitely be anarchy because everybody will be forced to take up arms in self-defence.
Recently, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers, saying the Nigerian Armed Forces were not ready to defend them.
Specifically, he said, “There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the Taraba State and of course, some rural states in Nigeria; we must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up. Our Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians…. If you are depending on Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one”.
Speaking in the same vein, the Vice Chairman of the YorubaUnity Forum, who is also a retired Archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, said in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, that: “Nigerians should be ready to defend themselves. I said that early last year at the palace of the Ooni of Ife and some people misunderstood me.
“But I don’t see any way outeven now. If government will not protect people, then individuals have the responsibility to be on the alert and ensure that they do not allow any trespass on their land, farms and whatever they can do to ensure their safety without breaking the law of the land, they should do it. I am glad that the person of Gen. T. Y. Danjuma status is saying the same thing now. I agree with him”.
Also agreeing with the self-defence call, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State submitted: “You can’t just wait in your house and allow someone to come and kill you. You can resist the person but you don’t necessarily need to have arms. Security matters are not just left in the hands of security men, it requires everyone to put our heads together and be courageous to be able to surmount it”.
Although these utterances as inflammatory and inciting as they are, are capable of heating up the polity, the implications of these calls in the long run should be considered. The consequence for taking up arms in self-defence is dangerous for Nigerians. And it will definitely do anybody any good.
So, we view that there is no need to call for arms to defend ourselves. Government must ensure that the security agencies are well funded or equipped to achieve the purpose for which they were set up.
The welfare of the security operatives must also be taken care of to enable them effectively policing the embattled areas or communities and tackling and insurgent or trouble makers headlong.
While calling for those found wanting among the security operatives to be shown the way out and prosecuted accordingly, we urge government not to fail in this regard because the lives of the people must be regarded as more sacred than those of cattle which the Fulani herdsmen misconstrue as more valuable.
The international best practices must be employed by the Federal Government in curbing the incessant bloody clashes between the cattle rearers and the host communities. This is necessary because other countries that have larger population of cattle than Nigeria proffer solutions to this kind of problem.
For instance, in India, Brazil and America, which have 300 millions; 250 millions; and 300 millions of herds of cattle, respectively, they resolve any issue concerning any clash between the rearers and the communities amicably. This must be imitated by Nigeria with reportedly has only 200 million herds of cattle.
As said earlier, there is the need for the Federal Government to review the security architecture of the country in order to avoid shedding of innocent blood by the insurgents, kidnappers, Fulani herdsmen, among others.
It is ironical that any time the President, Chief of Army Staff or senior government functionary says the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents have been decimated that wanton killings will be witnessed the next day.
Agreeing that government alone cannot be left to battle insecurity in the country, we urge that all hands to be on deck to address this without taking up arms for self-defence as this may be abused and used for ulterior motives in the long run by some disgruntled elements.
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