Defence Chief faults Zamfara govt’s call for citizens to bear arms

THE Nigerian Defense Headquarters has kicked against the call by the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, that residents of the state should bear arms to protect themselves from incessant attacks by bandits.

The ICIR had reported that the Zamfara State government directed the state commissioner of police to work out the modalities to issue gun licence to residents who are willing and qualified to bear arms to protect themselves.


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The government also ordered the recruitment of 200 additional community protection guards in each of the 19 emirates to strengthen security across the state.

However, Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor faulted the Zamfara governor’s directive while speaking at the opening ceremony of the joint exercise for the National Defence College and War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria codenamed “Exercise Grand Nationale”, at the National Defence College, Abuja, on Monday.

The defense chief stressed that it is important for stakeholders to follow the rules and Constitution accordingly.

He said, “We do not take instruction from the state governments. We have a Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution gives the right and powers to the C-in-C for the use of the Armed Forces and I believe what we’re doing in Zamfara State and across the states of the federation is not different to the provisions of the Constitution.

“We’re there to give support to the civil authority, in this case, the police. We’re there to ensure that peace returns to Zamfara.

“The governor does not have the powers to ask the CP to issue licences. I’m yet to get the details, but I do not think that’s the right thing to do.”






     

     

    Irabor stressed that the Nigeria’s Constitution only gave rights to the Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation to give such a directive.

    “I do not see the basis. My view is that the AGF will look at the Constitution and what the Constitution says. That’s the right way to go. The Armed Forces are in Zamfara, but beyond that, I believe there are legal issues that should be addressed using the instrumentality of the law to bring peace and security.

    “I believe that the Federal Government, through the Attorney-General, should look at the details of the press release. If what I read is true, I do not believe that the governor has the powers to instruct the CP to issue licence because the CP does not have the power to issue licences.

    ”Like I said, the AGF will do much about it. We have the Armed Forces in Zamfara, military, police, NSCDC; but beyond that, I believe there are legal issues”, Irabor said.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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