The Police have warned against the call by former minister of Defence, General T.Y Danjuma (rtd) for Nigerians, especially the people of Taraba State, to acquire arms and defend themselves and their territories against bandits.
For the second time, Danjuma yesterday implored the citizens to bear arms in self-defence, asking them to find out how the bandits and terrorists attacking their acquired their own arms.
The former Defence minister had in 2018 made a similar call, asking Nigerians to take up arms and defend themselves since their safety is not guaranteed by the Buhari administration.
Speaking yesterday at the coronation and presentation of staff of office to the new Aku Uka of Wukari, the paramount ruler of Kwararafa Kingdom in Wukari, Ishaku Manu Ada Ali, Danjuma restated his position about self-defense, alleging that innocent Nigerians were being killed by bandits who are guided by the military to perpetrate the act.
He said, “When I said the military were colluding with the armed bandits in 2017, the then minister of defence made a kangaroo commission of enquiry that mischievously submitted that there was no evidence about my claim and they asked me to come and defend it. I thank God today that the evidence is very clear to all Nigerians now. All Nigerian communities are now being sacked by the same bandits I alleged and all these bandits are foreigners.
“As a soldier, I must say the best way to defend is to attack. I will not buy arms for you. Find out how those attacking you acquired it, and then acquire it and attack back to defend yourselves and your territories.
“I congratulate you, the new supreme ruler of the great Kwararafa Kingdom, the Aku Uka of Wukari. I must advise you to embrace peace and ensure its existence but I must as well tell you to defend your territory and the people.
“You are surrounded by the armed bandits who are out to kill and destabilise the peace of your territory and you must explore serious efforts to defend your people and the territory”.
Ban On Firearms Still In Place – Police
But reacting to the call for self-defense by the elder statesman, the Nigeria Police Force yesterday said there is an outright prohibition on fire arm in Nigeria both automatic and local firm arms, warning that the law is still in place.
The police further said licenses are not being issued and all fire arms in circulation are to be returned to the closest police facility for safe keeping.
Reacting to a class of fire arms that an individual could be allowed to own, the deputy PRO of FCT, ASP Daniel Ndirpaya said, “There are a group of people whose effort in the fight against insecurity cannot be downplayed. They permissibly bear these arms to work in a concerted effort with the police to keep our society safe.
“They are known and can be accounted for. Any other found possession of the firearm is charged for unlawful possession of a firearm and is investigated accordingly. Local guns do not belong in the same category as cutlasses. It is safe to call the cutlasses and short knives and similar objects weapons.
“One of the easiest definitions of a firearm is an object that can be used to inflict grave bodily injury on a person. It could result in death and hospitalisation. But the machete or cutlasses usually found with herdsmen and farmers are naturally not created as a weapon for causing injuries to another”.
Also, when contacted for his reaction, the Force PRO, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said he was not aware of TY Danjuma’s call for citizens to arm themselves for protection.
Meanwhile, Governor Darius Ishaku and his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, while speaking at the coronation and presentation of staff of office to the new Aku Uka of Wukari in Taraba, called on the new Aku Uka, Ishaku Manu Ada Ali, to follow the historical footsteps of his predecessor to rule the kingdom with justice.
On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar ll, appealed to traditional rulers within the Aku Uka’s jurisdiction to give him the needed support to succeed and asked the youth and politicians to carry out their political campaigns in peace.
Earlier, Taraba State permanent secretary, bureau for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Alhaji Bello Yero, commended Governor Ishaku for ensuring that the traditional stool of the Jukun Kingdom was restored with a paramount ruler.
HRM Ishaku Manu Ada Ali, the 25th Aku Uka of Wukari, was officially crowned and presented a staff of office by Governor Ishaku after the death of Dr. Shakarau Angyu Masa Ibi ll in October last year.
Suswam Joins Call For Self Defence
Meanwhile, piqued by the frequency of killing of innocent people in Benue State, a former governor of the state and a serving senator representing Benue North East Senatorial District, Dr Gabriel Suswam, at the weekend said from what he had seen, the time has come for Benue people to rise up and defend themselves from killer herdsmen.
Suswam who was reacting to the recent invasion and killing of farmers including a police officer at Gbeji in Ukum local government area of Benue State, attributed the killings to the failure of the federal government to protect lives and property of citizens.
This is even as the death toll from the attack rose from 23 to 36, with several others still missing.
Senator Suswam who made his views known during a visit to the area to commiserate with victims and people of his constituency over the invasion said President Muhammadu Buhari has further demonstrated ineptitude and lackadaisical attitude in protecting the lives of the people whom he swore to protect.
He said a week ago, he had visited Mchia in Logo local government area which is the same area as Gbeji where 22 persons were murdered and several others were injured by herdsmen.
He noted: “Since the federal government has gone to sleep and does not care about the security of the people it is time for them to rise up and defend themselves, we cannot continue to allow herdsmen terrorists to keep on killing these peasant farmers and destroying their property.
“I want to commend the bravery and gallantry of our security agencies but they are overstretched and I want to say here that I cannot sleep in Abuja while our mothers who are producing food that we eat are killed in this way,” Suswam said.
Earlier, Governor Samuel Ortom reiterated his earlier call on the federal government to arm the state security outfit with AK-47 rifles to effectively protect the people.
The governor who was represented by the secretary to the state government, Prof. Anthony Ijohor, also said the state government was profiling displaced persons for adequate assistance.
Ortom had in an effort to stem the killings and check general insecurity in the state, set up the volunteer guard for which he said he had applied to the federal government for permission to arm them with AK-47 rifles, but is yet to get any response. However, the chief of defence staff Lt. Gen. Lucky Irabor recently said no state governor had the power to procure assault weapons.
PMB Condemns Herders, Farmers Killings
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday condemned the recent attacks in Benue State which led to the loss of lives. According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said it was unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.
According to him, no one should attack anyone because of their way of life, nor should anyone take revenge on others for injustice done to them, adding that both should be held accountable for their actions, and justice delivered.
He said, “It is equally unacceptable for the lives of those merely practicing their duties as police officers and government officials to also be lost. Government will hold those that took those lives to account.
“There are many times when President Buhari and Governor Ortom of Benue State have disagreed politically. But, today, the president put all these aside to reach out to the governor to express the heartfelt condolences of the nation for what has occurred in recent days.
“The president pledged the full support of the federal administration in assisting him, the government and people of Benue with resources to investigate what has occurred. When tragedies like this occur, we must remember first and foremost that we are all Nigerians.
“Politics too often gets in the way of what is best for our nation. Too often, it divides us. As those who have been entrusted with leadership by our citizens, we have a duty to remember that, and do everything we can to bridge divisions and come together in the interests of all our people,” Shehu added.