The inevitability of self-defence

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In law, homicide is not a crime when committed in self-defence. This law derives its legitimacy from the natural reaction of man to fight back when attacked. It does not really matter if the attacker is doing so from a position of superior strength, bearing gun, sword and spear.

Self-preservation, as we all know, is the first law of survival. Anyone who ignores that primordial commandment does so at his or her own peril. Even the Constitution which is the ultimate law of the land makes provision(s) for self-defence. Nigeria as an entity has a responsibility to defend itself hence we have our armed forces in place.

It is also said that the law permits you to deal with an intruder in any manner you deem fit. If you could access a gun like pump action (provided you are licensed to have one), machete (which is always handy), spear or even broken bottle, you are free to wield it in self-defence. In this democratic era, you could even weaponise brooms and umbrellas to defend yourself.

When I was growing up, we were told that you could “jujunise” the broom to secure your environment against unwanted callers. The “jujunised” object is usually hung in front of the house and once the intruder steps into your compound, he would just head for the broom. So, instead of sweeping your belongings away in your absence, he would condemn himself to environmental sanitation exercise, sweeping your compound over and over until you ask him to stop. Such a talisman would be very useful to tackle the criminal activities that Gen. TY Danjuma has asked us to defend ourselves against. It is said that heavens help those who help themselves. All that is required of you is simple: plant the brooms in a strategic location in your house, farmland or business place. You can also attach the broom to your vehicle door. In the event of any attack or theft, the attacker would reach for the broom and begin to do the needful: sweep!
For the past few weeks, the highly revered TY has been in the eye of the storm over his controversial call on Nigerians to defend themselves against criminal elements swarming all over the place, killing and maiming innocent and defenceless Nigerians with reckless abandon.

Notable among the irritants are the dreaded herdsmen rampaging across some states with rich vegetation like Benue, Taraba and Plateau. TY, as he is fondly referred to, has been crucified, brought down from the crucifix and re-crucified by those who are for and against his declaration made at the Taraba state University, Jalingo, a couple of days before the Easter celebration. TY now knows how it feels to be crucified in the days preceding the Good Friday!

Danjuma’s traducers have stopped short of calling for his arrest. They said his declaration is an invitation to anarchy. Some have slapped him with treason and sedition. Those in the government circle alleged that the General’s outburst was borne of frustration of not getting security contracts any more.

Shortly before TY committed the sin that led him to the Golgotha to be crucified, I spoke with a former colleague of mine at the Standard Newspaper of Jos. But wait a minute, is there any day I would not mention Standard in this space? You have to bear with me. It was the newspaper that shaped my career after I cut my journalism teeth at the New Nigerian.

TY simply echoed what my former colleague, named Possible Ediba, who now lives in Makurdi, had told me. He went further to say that the military even provided cover for the marauders! But I found it difficult to believe his claim. How possible! Even after TY had given a seal of authenticity to what he said, I still found the pill a bit bitter to swallow.

There is no doubting the fact, TY is a highly respected military officer who has paid his dues in the service to the nation even at the expense of his life.

The first time I met the retired General at a close range was two or so years after the Civil War. He had come to the Government Secondary School, Birnin Kebbi, to sell his constituency to the final-year students desiring to make a career in the army. A full colonel at the time, young, athletic and smart looking, many of the students got seduced by his uniform and presentation. One of them was Almustapha Jokolo, the son of the reigning emir of Gwandu at the time, Alhaji Rasheed. Jokolo later succeeded his father upon retiring from the army a major.

I must confess that I got seduced too but my interest was in the Navy. I went as far as attending an interview (public relations corps) at the Naval Headquarters, Apapa, but I burst the mission. Why and how did I do so? Well, that is a story for another day.

In this country today, every Fulani herdsman is passed as a gun man and every gun man as a herder. In the good old days, an average herder goaded his animals around with sticks. But today, they shepherd their cattle with AK 47. Many have argued that the modern-day herders prefer guns to sticks so that they can defend their cattle in the event of a raid by ruthless cattle rustlers.
Having acquired sophisticated weapons coupled with the economic meltdown, the temptation to join the lucrative kidnap business and highway/community robbery can be very, very irresistible.

And to say that the Buhari administration is providing covers for killer herders because they are his kinsmen is unthinkable especially with the 2019 general polls winding down. It would amount to the President shooting himself in the foot as there is every likelihood that he will run for a second term and those who are at the receiving ends of the killer herdsmen are certainly going to vote against his ambition. Will he rely on the minority Fulani to vote him back to the Villa? Even if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decides to register all the cattle swarming all over the place to vote, he won’t make it back.

As I have always canvassed in this space, the solution to this orgy of violence is to set up the state police to complement the efforts of the central government. We have heard of “Operation Lafiya Dole”, “Operation Harbi Kunama”, “Operation Python Dance”, “Operation Crocodile Smile”, “Operation Safe Heaven”, “Operation Cat Race”, “Operation This” and “Operation That”. Now, let us have “Operation State Police”! That is the reality on ground.

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