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Group rejects Fall To Arm Civilians For Self-Defence Against Insecurity In Zamfara

The leadership of Concerned Northern Forum (CNF), has rejected the directive by Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara State for civilians to bear arms to defend themselves against the increasing attack by terrorists.

The Zamfara State government had recently asked residents of the state to obtain guns to defend themselves against terrorist attacks.

But the CNF, in a statement although it is not against self-defence, does not support arming civilians.

The statement signed by Ibrahim Bature and Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, Chairman and Spokesman respectively on Monday in Kaduna said, “We are not against self-defence but we cannot support the decision directing civilians to bear arms themselves, because we are all witnesses to the inabilities of developed countries with accurate data at all levels with such policies and their inabilities to stop the consequences of gun violence.

“Arms bearing is an economic tool in the hands of citizens against others, and that may lead to more abuse, as such; we are of the opinion that the decision is not timely considering demography of those involved.”

The forum noted that according to the Fire Arms Act, private citizens are only licenced to acquire pump-action and short guns.

The group asked, “so how can a farmer in Zamfara State defend himself against terrorists with GPMG, Anti- Aircraft and AK 47? who will train the farmers after acquiring such arms, what is the capacity of our training ranges nationwide and who will be responsible for the training? And at what point will the Zamfara State government retrieve all the guns licensed to them? These are too many questions begging for answers.”

The statement observed that the Governor is only trying to score a cheap political point and appealed to him to face governance squarely with all sincerity of purpose and accept his responsibility.

The forum alleged that the Governor does not have the right to direct the state Commissioner of Police to give interested citizens licenses, stressing that the police is a federal agent and they are not answerable to him under section 214 of the 1999 constitution.

“We salute his courage for his decisive actions on the closures of some markets, the ban on the sale of petroleum products in jerrycans and complete ban of motorcycles but we are of the opinion that the said ban will not see the light of day without strong, visible and motivated enforcement team in place.”

The forum appealed to the federal government to deploy more security personnel to Zamfara State, to empower the local vigilante groups, believing that it would help in local intelligence gathering.

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