Former Kaduna Senator and rights activist, Shehu Sani, has thrown his weight behind Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state that the residents should take up arms to protect and defend themselves from marauding bandits.
Sani who first tweeted and then spoke with newsmen on Monday said terrorists have defied all measures taken by both federal and state governments, hence, the next urgent step is for residents to bear arms and defend themselves against the terrors of the assailants.
Recall that Matawalle through the commissioner for information, Ibrahim Dosara, issued the directive on Saturday in Gusau, the state capital.
Responding via Twitter, Sani said, “When the masses are armed, it will no more take an hour or two for the terrorists to get the necessary response they need. No one knows our savanna and our desert more than our people. They said security is everybody’s responsibility. The slaughter and rape must stop.”
Speaking further in an interview, he said, “Well, first of all if you check my tweet, I’ve answered the question on that. I categorically support the idea that civilian groups should be armed to take on the terrorists. Especially the vigilantes and volunteers should be trained, should be armed, and should be funded to go after the terrorists.
“It is clear to us that that terrorists have defied all norms. The government has tried to dialogue with them, it failed. They have suspended telecommunication activities, it failed. They have closed down markets, it failed. They have closed down schools, it failed. They have banned the use of motorcycles, it failed. So the fact even the bombing campaign that has been going on has failed and the Gumi intervention has not produced any result.
“The next thing to do is for the people to protect themselves and the government should allow them to do that. Instead of hiring mercenaries, civilian groups should be organised and vigilantes trained to protect and defend their villages so at the end of the day we will know who own the lands. I’m very much in support of the idea of arming the people.”
When asked if this will not cause anarchy among people which the police have cautioned, Sani said, “Which anarchy is more than this when they are slaughtering farmers? People are slaughtered in thousands every day. And people are kidnapped. And they rape women and burn down villages, so which anarchy is beyond that? People are the victims already.
“The terrorists do not need arms because they have arms already. They have arms and ammunition to fight. So those that don’t have arms are the civilian groups that need to be organised. The military can be in charge of this. They can train youths, after all we have vigilante groups and volunteer groups. All that is needed is for them to be armed and funded for them to take the war to the camps of the terrorists.”