The Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana, has said the embargo on firearms licence is still in force, noting that the police have stopped issuing licence to citizens who wished to own guns.
The police boss stated this, on Sunday, in response to inquiries from The PUNCH about the directive by the state government that the police command should issue gun licence to those eligible to bear arms.
The Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, had in a statement on Sunday, disclosed that the government had directed residents of the state to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against bandits who have been terrorising the state.
The government, therefore, directed the state Commissioner of Police to issue licence to all those who qualify and are willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.
Dosara had said, “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 a 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. The government has already concluded an 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 to the Commissioner of Police 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.”
But reacting to the directive, the state commissioner of police said he has yet to receive any directive to issue gun licences to the people.
Elkana, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH said, “I have not received any directives and also, there is a ban on firearms licence and we don’t give licence.
“I am yet to receive any directive. Let me see the directive first before I can comment. I have not seen the directive, so I cannot comment on compliance.”
Asked if the government’s decision was a vote of no confidence on the police, the CP replied, “There is nothing like vote of no confidence, please. This is farming season and you cannot get police or any security to be following everybody to the farm. They are attacking people on the farm; that is the problem. It is not as if we are not doing our best; we are doing our best. Of recent, we rescued many people (from bandits).”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, declined comment on the matter when contacted.
Ogun State differs
The Ogun State Government also says it is not planning to allow residents of the state to carry arms and defend themselves in the face of insecurity in the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Olusola Subar, said this while speaking with one of our correspondents in Abeokuta on Sunday.
“There is no plan in Ogun State here that I know of to direct the police or citizens to be giving licence to bear arms,” he said.
The Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Security, Brig. Gen. Ebenezar Ogundana (retd.), has said the situation of the state could not get to the extent of where everybody would be required to bear arms.
Ogundana, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We cannot get to that level, because when you say everybody should go and get arms to defend themselves, you are creating panic that the government is not in control and you are creating panic that the environment is not safe.”
Answering questions from The PUNCH in Umuahia on if the state will follow Zamfara State’s plans to liberalise gun purchase, the Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo said, “What successfully applies in one location may not necessarily be the solution in another location, but what is paramount in our mind as a government, is to ensure the security and welfare of our citizens.”
Experts foresee anarchy
Security experts have, however, warned against the implementation of the directive, describing it as an invitation to anarchy.
One of them, Timothy Avele, said the Zamfara state government should anticipate a high number of extrajudicial killings as a result of the directive.
“It’s a direct call for anarchy at the highest level. You can’t imagine the kind of extrajudicial killings that would result from this current governor’s statement.
“It simply shows the Federal Government, state governments, security agencies and the military have failed woefully,” he said.
Another security expert, Jackson Ojo, said the Zamfara State government directive was against the law of the land.
“What the Zamfara State Governor has just declared is like a mutiny. Under which law does the government of Zamfara State permit its indigenes to bear arms?” Ojo wondered.