2023: Northern coalition backs citizens to bear arms

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has thrown support to the proposal by the Zamfara state governor that citizens of the country should bear arms to defend themselves against terrorists and bandits in the country.

CNG’s Director of Strategic Communication, Samaila Musa, in a statement on Thursday, challenged the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to explain to Nigerians how many armoured tanks and other necessary weaponry he supplied to the war theatre in Zamfara state and other conflict-ridden areas.

Musa argued that if a regional security outfit like Amotekun could bear firearms, there was nothing wrong for citizens to do same.

The spokesman, aside commending Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State for backing the move, stated that the agitation for a security taskforce modelled after Civilian-JTF called ‘Arewa Security Taskforce’ should be revisited.

He said: “We therefore commend Governor Matawalle for recognising this approach although belatedly. We have equally keenly observed reactions from individuals and groups across the country with a particular concern with the position of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who faulted the authorisation for self-defence.  

“We reject his rejection of self-defence! Self-preservation and defence are natural, inalienable and fundamental that cannot be denied. 

“We wish to remind the CDS: That even his principal, Minister of Defence, has once called for self-defence amidst incessant killings by terrorists in Nigeria.

“That the CDS himself told Nigerians that many personnel of the armed forces were facing court-martial for conniving with the kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other criminals.

“That there are allegations of compromise within the security architecture of the country including the military that the CDS himself was reported to have said that some soldiers and officers are already ‘disgruntled and unmotivated with divided loyalty’ hence their inability to protect our people adequately and save our lives. 

“That we challenge the CDS to explain to Nigerians how many personnel, armoured tanks and other necessary weaponry did he supply to the war theatre in Zamfara and other conflict ridden areas.

“That Amotekun, a fully armed security outfit, is operating in Southern Nigeria without a word from him.

“That just a few days ago 69 communities in Bukuyum Local Government of Zamfara State have been ransacked and terrorised. Where was the CDS?

“That the perennial and overwhelming nature of the existential security threat on Nigeria is beyond the soldiers alone to handle; hence all hands must be on deck!

“That with the escalating attacks, kidnapping and criminal levies on our communities, what strategy does he have to end the violent activities that is yet to apply?

“We, therefore, state categorically that communities and people must be brought in to the security efforts and strategies in their communities for any meaningful impact to be achieved because excluding people does not proffer solution as we currently observe.

“It is high time that the CNG’s suggestions that a security taskforce modelled after Civilian-JTF called “Arewa Security Taskforce” should be revisited.

“Highly reputable and disciplined retired northern security officers in collaboration with traditional institutions and security operatives can work with localities. 

“The localities should engage, train and deploy youths in their local communities to protect their villages, towns and cities. The taskforce will have rule of engagement, vehicles, uniform, weaponry and other needs for its operation.

“CNG has, in its possession, a comprehensive, systematic and verifiable programme structure on how the taskforce can be created, organised and executed which can be made available to the northern leaders for adoption, subject to ratification by security experts. 

“We reiterate our call to Northern Governors and Traditional Leaders to join hands with willing citizens to protect and secure their communities, towns and villages from bloodthirsty killers. 

“It is a must duty because of the sanctity of human lives. CNG remains committed to working with, guiding and advising all interested leaders in addressing this perennial security problem in the north and the country.”

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