Apparently exasperated over its inability to provide security for citizens, the Zamfara State government has given the go-ahead for them to procure firearms for self defence.
The approval, however, comes with a caveat: citizens must get police permit.
Zamfara, one of the north-western states of the country, like Niger State in the north-central, has been an epicentre of worsening terrorism and banditry.
State Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Dosara, in a statement, disclosed that the Commissioner of Police in the State has been directed to issue gun licence to those eligible to bear arms, while the government will facilitate the procurement of basic weapons are available.
The government statement reads: “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 any one 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”.