The Executive Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, has asked Nigerians to stop waiting on the government to defend them against acts of terrorism and banditry, saying that the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) cannot offer the desired protection.
Governor Masari gave the charge on Monday while speaking during the 2022 special prayer session in commemoration of ‘Yaumush Shukur’ (thanksgiving) day for Katsina.
According to him, insecurity is a global challenge, so Nigerians need to learn self-defence like the citizens of America and China.
“The security challenges we are facing in terms of killings and kidnappings are not only limited to Katsina or Nigeria, but they happen everywhere, even in America and China. But their citizens don’t fold their arms and wait for the government,” Masari said.
The Governor, who earlier charged Katsina residents to use their teeth in self-defence against armed bandits, further stated that when citizens defend themselves, the burden of protection reduces on the security agencies and crime will reduce.
“Don’t lock yourselves inside and say it is the responsibility of the government or police to defend you: how many people will the police defend? But if you defend yourself, it will reduce the work of policemen and soldiers,” he added.
Masari’s statement came weeks after Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara encouraged citizens in his state to buy guns and defend themselves against bandits and terrorists.
Meanwhile, citizens have criticized top government officials, who have the primary responsibility to protect lives and properties, for shying away from their jobs and transferring such responsibilities to citizens.
In particular, Prof Sunday Ochoche, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Foundation for the Support of Victims of Terrorism, while presenting a paper recently in Abuja faulted the call by Zamfara State government and Minister of Defence on citizens to take up arms and defend themselves.
He said, “In Nigeria, the insecurity has reached a point that the Zamfara State government is calling on the citizens to acquire weapons to defend themselves.
“The Minister of Defence has made similar calls and I dare say that there is no better promotion for the proliferation of small arms and light weapons than seeing high-level government officials urging citizens to go acquire weapons to defend themselves.
“There is no better acknowledgement of the failure of the State to deliver its primary responsibility to the people than those responsible for the provision of security now to begin to call on people to go and acquire weapons to protect themselves.”
Also, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, said Matawalle and other governors lacked the powers to direct police commissioners to issue gun licences to residents as a measure against insecurity.
Tension and anxiety have gripped citizens across the country over the incessant attacks of bandits and terrorists across the country.
Bandits, in July, opened fire on President Muhammadu Buhari’s advance convoy in Katsina, and on the same day, members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) invaded Kuje Medium Prison, freeing over 600 inmates including 64 terrorists.
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