Six months after Masari’s call: Angry Matawalle asks residents to take up arms in self-defence

In the midst of rising insecurity in his state and other parts of the country, Zamfara state Governor Mohammed Matawalle has asked residents to obtain licensed guns and defend themselves against the terrorists’ onslaught on them.

Zamfara, a North-west state of Nigeria, has come under attacks from bandits and terrorists for several years with no end seemingly in sight.

The call is coming six months after a similar one by Katsina state Governor Aminu Bello Masari  who spoke against the escalating security threat in the state December.

The Masari call

In making the call, Masari, the governor of Katsina, also a North-west state had said:  “It’s Islamically allowed for one to defend himself against attack. One must rise to defend himself, his family and assets. If you die while trying to defend yourself, you’ll be considered a martyr. It’s surprising how a bandit would own a gun while a good man trying to defend himself and his family doesn’t have one.

“We’ll support those who come with the initiative to procure arms because residents need to also complement the efforts of security agencies. These people (security agents) don’t have the number to protect the people. When President Buhari came, he even tried by increasing the number of our security agents but it’s inadequate. Count it yourself, how many policemen do we have in this country? How many soldiers do we have?

“Even if we say every policeman should go back to his home state, it’ll still not be enough. So, if we fold arms and decide to do nothing, we’ll be the ones to suffer most,” the governor had further lamented.

Fresh call from Zamfara

In a similar call in Gusau, Zamfara state capital, the state government “directed the state commissioner of police to issue (gun) licenses” to willing and qualified people of the state.

The position was made known by the state’s commissioner for information, Mr Ibrahim Dosara in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Blueprint.

Dosara said: “Following increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state and the government commitment to ensure adequate security and protection of lives and property of the citizenry in the state, particularly during this rainy season, 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, in order to deal decisively with the situation in our respective communities, government has no option than to take the following measures:

“Government has henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue license 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. Government has already concluded arrangement 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, license to own guns and such 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.”

“People are strictly warned and advised to make sure that any information or intelligence about an informant must be true and nothing but the truth, as all information on such informants must carry correct data on the suspects, including their pictures, correct names, address, occupation and witness to testify the genuity of the information given, as government is taking punitive measures against anyone found as informant. Any person who give wrong information against anybody, will be served the same punishment with an informant and will be treated as such.

“Government has requested the state House of Assembly to pass, as matter of urgency, the informants bill before it, to enable government take the drastic measures on informants as contained in the bill.

“Government has ordered for the recruitment of 200 additional Community Protection Guards in each of the 19 emirates of the state, making it 500 per emirate, to increase their manpower and strengthen its force and capacity to deal with the bandits,” the statement further warned.
It also said: “To further ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of these measures, as well the proper implementation of these measures, government has also decided as follows:

“Formation of a special committee to receive intelligence on the activities of informants.”

The committee has Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Alhaji Kabiru Balarabe Sardauna Dan Isa ( Lamidon Kaura)as Chairman with  Chief of Staff to the Governor Ibrahim Sulaiman, DIG Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe (Commissioner in charge of Security), Dosara, Commissioner for Youth Nasiru Masama and Sani Abdullahi Wamban Shinkafi as members.

Also on the committee are Special Adviser Security Hon Abubakar Mohammed Dauran, a commissioner in the State Independent Electoral Commission Sanusi Wanzammai,
Captain Mai Riga T/ Mafara and Sani Gwamna Mayanchi, while  Bello Bakyasuwa Soja is  to serve as the secretary.

Also, the state government announced “the formation of additional paramilitary unit to support control and command to properly and effectively reinforce the operations of our community protection guards CPG.”

The newly established unit has the following structures and appointments namely; retired Commissioner of Police Mamman Anka as Commandant–General; Capt Aminu Mada (rtd)– Deputy Commandant General Operations;  Sulaiman Lawali Zurmi – Commandant Operations; Bashir Nafiu Gusau – Commandant Mobilization and Alhaji Aliyu Na’ibi Karakkai – Commandant Surveillance and Intelligence.

Closure of markets

Dosara also announced the closure of markets to curb the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state.

“Furthermore, in view of the deteriorating security situation in Mada, Wonaka, and Ruwan Bore Districts of Gusau local government, as well as Yandoto emirate in Tsafe local government, His Excellency, Governor Mohammed Matawalle MON, Barden Hausa and Shattiman Sokoto, has approved the immediate closure of all markets and Kara in these districts and Yandoto emirate indefinitely.

“In addition this, government has equally banned riding of motorbikes and selling of petroleum products in Mada, Wonaka and Ruwan Bore districts, as well as Yandoto emirate.

“Henceforth, all filling stations on the affected areas are hereby closed with immediate effect. Anybody found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons at sight.

“Security agencies are by this announcement directed to ensure strict compliance. Anybody found violating this order should be dealt with according to the rule of law. Government would not condone any act where innocent people are being killed.

“Government is also using this medium to thank all those who honoured and respect the peace dialogue in whatever form. In the same vein, those who refused to honour and respect the peace dialogue are hereby warned to allow peace within our respective communities. Government is hereby directing the military, police, civil defence and other security agencies to mobilise their operatives and take fight to the enclaves of the criminals with immediate effect.”

‘Recipe for disaster’

But Nigerians have cautioned against self-defence as advocated by Governor Matawalle, saying it’s a disaster in waiting.

A columnist and social commentator, Gimba Kakanda, wrote on his Facebook page: “Asking civilians to arm themselves in a lawless country, as being proposed by Zamfara state’s Governor Bello Matawalle, is an appointment with categorical disaster. Even the countries with big defence budgets have been unable to stop the consequent gun violence.”

For an Abuja-based journalist, George Daniel, Governor Matawalle’s proposal “is utter failure of government and governance.”

Daniel wrote: “Where would the poor people even get money to arm themselves? People have not fed themselves and he is asking them to arm themselves. This is utter failure of government and governance. What is surprising is that the social media is moving on as if these mass killings are over. Allah ya isa da Nijeriya.”

Another Nigerian, Egwa Ibrahim wrote: “When leaders fail they transfer their responsibilities to the people but still keep the benefits they are provided with because of the responsibilities. Katsina and Zamfara states governors ought to have resigned a long time ago.”

Another Facebook commentator, Bashir Kutawa wrote: “I remember sometimes ago, the state governor deemed it fit to buy some posh cars for the traditional rulers of the state forgetting that the state is in dire need of security. Our leaders lead based on their vested interest not the interest of the general society.”

For Mohammed Ashiru: “A problem can neither solve itself nor another problem. Two wrongs mean more wrong not less. Mutawalle has got enough money to spend on every useless venture, except security. Arming vigilantes is the best option.”

For Sadeeg Balarabe: “The proposal is long overdue, I think one of the most painful things in life is cowardly waiting for a man like yourself intrude into your home and boldly take you away for ransom or kill you in front of your family, this is humiliation, we must fight it.”

Another commentator, Odufote Afolabi, however, believed that “State Police would be the right way to go, but finance is the hurdle.”

3 vigilantes killed in Niger

Meanwhile, three vigilantes, including their commander, Danladi Dobbo, were reportedly killed and scores of villagers abducted  by kidnappers in Kpada Community of Lapai local government of Niger state..

It was learnt that the incident occurred Friday afternoon while the locals and tractor operators were carrying out their farming activities.

Their tractors were also burnt while several other people were injured in the sudden attack.

It was gathered that the vigilantes mobilised for search and rescue mission  and got killed in the forest ran during an ambush by the terrorists.

Commissioner for Internal Security Emmanuel Umar confirmed the  incident in Minna at the weekend. 

He urged the community not to go after the bandits in the forest, assuring  the security agencies will help recover the bodies of those slain.”

A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity said recently a police DCO in Lapai and a vigilant were killed in the same Kpada community during a rescue mission.

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached as at the time of this report.

Catholic priest killed in Kaduna

Also, a Kaduna state-based Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, was reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be bandits who raided his farm  Saturday.

Borogo was the Chaplain of the Catholic Community of the Kaduna state.

According to report, the clergy was reportedly gunned down by the bandits when he went to inspect his farm in the Prison Farm settlement along Kaduna-Kachia road, Kujama, after allegedly getting reports of Fulani herdsmen allowing their cattle to graze on the farm and destroying crops.

Secretary of the state chapter of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev Fr Christian Emmanuel, confirmed the development in  a statement Sunday.

He said the 50-year-old Borogo was attacked by the bandits in what could be a failed abduction attempt.

“It is with a heavy heart, but with total submission to the will of God that we announce the death of Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, which sad event took place on Saturday, at Prison Farm, Kujama, along Kaduna-Kachia Road, after a raid on the farm by terrorists.

The statement said: “Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso, the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna condoles with the immediate family, the NFCS Family of Kaduna Polytechnic, and indeed the entire Kaduna Polytechnic Community; and assures them of his fraternal closeness and prayers.

“Until his death, the 50-year-old priest was the Chaplain of the Catholic Community of the Kaduna State Polytechnic.

“Rev Fr. Vitus was also the Chairman of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), Kaduna Chapter.

“He had gone to the farm on inspection after reports that Fulani herdsmen were grazing on it. We suspect he was killed when they attempted to kidnap him and he resisted. May his soul rest in peace,” the statement said.

3 armed robbers killed in Delta

Similarly, Delta state Police command Sunday arrested a man, Mr. Volt Blessing Gabriel for killing his son for money ritual.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, in a statement said: “On 25/06/2022, at about 1030 hrs, one Mrs Success Oduwa ‘f’ age 24yrs of Peanuts junction, Obeh in Edo state, discovered that she has not seen her child since the morning of 24/6/2022 and started troubling the husband as to the where about of the child. 

“The husband told her that the child is with his sister in Warri. On getting to Warri, she discovered the husband lied to her, hence her suspicion. 

PPRO said she reported to the Commander, Quick Response Squad, that she is suspecting her husband named, Volt Blessing Gabriel (m) age 33yrs of same address, to have killed their child named Godspower Gabriel (m) aged one year and eight months for ritual purposes.” 

DSP Edafe noted that the Commander RRS detailed operatives who swung into action, arrested the husband and handed him over to the DPO ‘A’ Division Warri for further investigation. 

“Upon interrogation, suspect confessed to have murdered the said child at Ewabogun bush by Catholic Road, Benin city, using hand saw to cut off the head and buried it by a palm tree in the bush and threw away the headless body of the child. 

“The suspect also stated that he actually killed the child, because of a dream he had, where he saw a man who told him that, if he kills the child and use the child’s blood to rub his head, he will become rich. Suspect is in custody.

“On 23/06/2022 at about 0500hrs the DPO Ozoro acting on a distress  call, that armed robbers were operating at Eterava street, Ozoro in Isoko north local government area, mobilized and led a combined team of police and vigilantes to the scene,” the PPRO said.

He said on arrival, the hoodlums engaged the team in a shootout, during which one of the armed robbers sustained bullet injuries while others escaped.

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