The governor of Zamfara state,
Bello Matawalle has directed residents of the state to pick up firearms to defend themselves against bandits’ attacks and indiscriminate killing.
This was disclosed to newsmen in a statement on Saturday by Ibrahim Dosara, the information commissioner, in Gusau, the state capital.
It would be recalled that Zamfara is one of the worst-hit states by banditry attacks and killings in Nigeria.
It was also gathered that the State has the second-highest number of deaths from non-state actors in the first quarter of 2022, with 327 cases.
Responding to the security challenges, the governor said: “I’m ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves.”
The statement reads, “I’m directing the police command to issue gun licences to all who qualify and are willing to obtain firearms to defend themselves.”
Matawalle equally ordered the recruitment of 200 additional community protection guards in each of the 19 emirates to strengthen security across the state.
“Following the increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state and the government’s commitment to ensure adequate security and protection of lives and property of the citizenry in the state, particularly during this rainy season, the 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,” the government added.
“This act of terrorism has been a source of worry and concern to the people and government of the state. Therefore, to deal decisively with the situation in our respective communities, the government has no option but to take the following measures:
“The government has, henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue licences 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.
“The government has already concluded arrangements 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, for a license to own guns and 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, addresses, occupation and witness to testify the Genuity of the information given, as the government is taking punitive measures against anyone found as an informant. Any person who gives wrong information against anybody will be served the same punishment as an informant and will be treated as such.”
The government has also requested the state house of assembly to pass the informants bill before it, to enable the state to take drastic measures against informants.