Zamfara govt calls on residents to take up arms against bandits

The Zamfara state government has called on residents to arm themselves with weapons against bandits.

The call came in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, in Gusau, the state capital.

Zamfara is one of the states worst hit by banditry. It has the second highest number of deaths from non-state actors in the first quarter of 2022, with 327 cases.

Reacting to the security challenge in the state, the state government said it was “ready to facilitate people, especially farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves.”

It also directed the police command to issue gun licences to all persons  deemed as qualified and are willing to obtain firearms to defend themselves.

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

“Following the increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state and the government’s commitment to ensure adequate security and protection of lives and property of the citizenry in the state, particularly during this rainy season, the government has resolved to take further measures to deal with the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping and the criminal levies being enforced on our innocent communities.

“This act of terrorism has been a source of worry and concern to the people and government of the state. Therefore, to deal decisively with the situation in our respective communities, the government has no option but to take the following measures:

“The 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 licences to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves. Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves.

“The government has already concluded arrangements to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

“People must apply from the Commissioner of Police for a licence to own guns and other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves. A secretariat or centre will be established for the collection of intelligence on the activities of informants,” the statement read.



    Residents were advised to verify the information of suspicious identities in their neighbourhood, but were warned that those with wrong information would be punished.

    “Any person who gives wrong information against anybody will be served the same punishment as an informant and will be treated as such,” the Information commissioner said in the statement.

    He added that the government had requested the state house of assembly to pass the Informants bill before it to enable the government take drastic measures against fake informants.

    A committee has been set up to ensure the proper implementation of the measures.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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