August 18, 2022

Zamfara Firearms and the Hullabaloo: Matters Arising

Gora Albehu Dauda

At the mention of insecurity in Nigeria, Zamfara occupies the highest rung of the insecurity ladder.
Zamfara State has generated so much news for most of the 8 years of the Buhari government and for all the wrong reasons. All measures aimed at tackling the menace have come to naught. The failure to secure Zamfara and other parts of this trapped and beleagured country cannot be blamed on any authority aside the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Though, the 1999 Constitution As Amended has designated State governors as the Chief Security Officers of their respective States, it has not stated clearly what resources the government of the Federation has placed at their disposal to be able to achieve that arduous task particularly so that they are not exercising any control over the security agencies stationed within the territory of their States.

The State governors on their part in my humble view have been busy flaunting themselves around town as CSOs of their States and earmarking bogus sums from State budgets for security which are not auditable instead of demanding to know from the Federal government how they can possibly perform that role in the circumstance. Matters have come to a head not only in Zamfara State but elsewhere requiring desperate measures which is why I think that with her back against the wall, the Zamfara State government gave clearance to her citizens to bear arms for their personal protection.

This decision by the government of Zamfara State is the clearest indictment that the Buhari government has failed to secure this trapped country as well as the citizens.

The response by the Federal authorities regarding the decision of the Zamfara State government was swift. The Chief of Defense Staff quickly picked up the gauntlet thrown by the government of Zamfara State insisting that the military will arrest any civilian seen carrying a weapon. I thought and am still thinking that Gen Irabor rushed too quickly into the fray. I think that he should have tarried a while longer to examine the issues in contention.

Given his vehemence in disagreeing the decision of the Zamfara State government desperate to secure her population the next thing to expect Gen Irabpr is to decree that the population in.Zamfara should be not take any step(s) to defend themselves.

Nigerian law is explicit as to who can bear a weapon and what type of weapon such can carry as well as under what circumstance. We need not remind Gen Irabor that whilst he and his boys are safer, that we ordinary citizens are at the mercy of killer Fulani armed militias and sundry kidnapping gangs.

Is it not the foremost responsibility of the Nigerian military to secure all of us? How many AK 47 rifle welding Fulani terrorists or kidnappers have the security forces arrested and prosecuted? We know also that vigilantes who are ordinary citizens have been granted some recognition of sort to bear weapons in support of the security forces in some instances.

Some of them have worked closely with the military in the Counter Insurgency campaign in the Northeast. Given the abysmal performances of the military under Buhari’s watch as President, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, I agree that nobody will be fair to Gen Irabor if blame for the security failures were laid on his table.
The rot or inertia by the Nigerian security architecture given the failure to secure us lies well above Gen Irabor.

There is nowhere to lay the blame for the failure to effectively tackle Nigeria’s insecurity beside the Presidency. There is simply no willpower by the President to deal effectively with the deteriorating security situation. Nigeria cannot be said to be lacking in manpower to be quickly trained essentially for this purpose. There are a variety of measures to defeat the mainly Fulani inspired insurgency, one of which the Zamfara State government has decided on.

Another is to ask for help from friendly African countries who are indebted to us one way or another. A third option is to rapidly put more young men and women under arms to clear out the Fulani as well as their accomplices from the arid Sahel north.

The last option is clearly off the table as long as Muhammadu Buhari is president which fits into the narrative that there is an insidious conspiracy against Nigeria led by the Fulani. The erroneous believe by the Fulani which may have been fed up the falsehood that the territory of Nigeria belongs to them is at the very core of the insecurity in Nigeria.

I keep reminding us that from the onset the Buhari government’s preference of people claiming Fulani ancestry to occupy many if not all important positions in the government was crystal clear.

Have we forgotten too, so early in the day the blackmail called the Ruga and Grazing reserve Bill which was tabled before the NASS not long after Buhari’s swearing in? Had that Bill succeeded, it would have been the equivalent of the German blitzkrieg across Europe during the Second World War.

Have you not noticed that before the Buhari government, Fulani herdsmen used to move with their animals to the Southern parts of this country to be followed by a northward movement when the rains return? Have you not also noticed that the mainly foreign herders imported to occupy our land are staying put wherever they have occupied?

Do the Fulani show any respect or have regard to their host communities? That is the arrogance of the foreign Fulani. Somebody should remind them that they are living on borrowed time.

They must not be too quick in forgetting from whence they came but incase they do, History should be a reminder.

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