Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has said that the State Government relied on an extant legislation to direct residents to acquire weapons to defend themselves.
This is contained in a statement issued by Jamilu Magaji, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
Magaji stated that the governor made the remark while inaugurating some security committees in Gusau.
The statement explained that the governor’s directive was part of the administration’s efforts to tackle protracted security challenges in the state.
It added that the State Government was aware of the misgivings expressed in some quarters regarding the new measure.
It noted that the measure was meant “to encourage the communities suffering almost daily from the inhuman aggressions from the bandits to acquire firearms to defend their communities.
“Self-defence is a natural instinct and has always been part of human survival strategy.
“As those entrusted with the safety of lives and property of the people, we will do everything possible to uphold this responsibility within the ambit of the law.
“We are also aware that the security forces are doing their best to combat this formidable challenge.
“Their efforts are, however, hampered by the lack of adequate modern warfare equipment and the dearth of personnel.
“Our decision to mobilise people to secure their communities is, therefore, for the people to complement the efforts of the conventional security forces in dealing with banditry and fishing out informants
“The acquisition and usage of firearms by the public, who desire to do so, would be governed by the Nigeria Firearms Act,” he further stated.
The statement added that the state government had explored all options to address the issue to no avail.
It explained that apart from dialogue, reconciliation and disarmament, the government also had regular engagement with Federal Government and neighbouring states, including the Nigerien authorities.
“We also shut down mobile telecommunication networks to give security forces the leeway to take the battle directly to the bandits,” the statement added.
The governor further said that his administration had provided modern RUGA settlement for nomads and logistics support to security agencies, including vehicles and drones.
He said that in recent weeks, the state witnessed increased attacks in some parts of Gusau, Bukkuyum and Gummi Local Government Areas.
Matawalle said that government had provided 20 new Hilux Vans and 1,500 motorcycles to the committee on security to commence operation.