As attacks, kidnappings and killings by non-state actors heighten just weeks to the 2023 general elections, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Sunday, has called for the liberalisation of AK-47 license to all adults without criminal records.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement said it is important for states and the Federal Government to stem the tides of violent kidnappers including the new dimension introduced all over the country where marauders raze down buildings after slaughtering innocent citizens.
The group reiterated its call for the formation of national guard to support the already overwhelmed security apparatus presently in existence.
According to reports, no fewer than 19 persons were kidnapped in the last 24 hours, with relatives of the victims and residents of the communities where the incidents took place crying out to the security agencies for help.
For instance, six pupils were kidnapped in Nasarawa, a Catholic Catechist whisked away in Kaduna, a monarch, his wife, children and others abducted in Taraba, 15 abducted, three killed in Edo, Imo Council Chairman shot, abducted with two friends whilst his residence was razed in the Imoko community in Arondizuogu.
This came less than a week after the country home of the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Ugochinyere Imo, was attacked at Akokwa community in the Ideato North LGA, with three persons killed and about 33 vehicles razed.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The simultaneous attacks and kidnappings nationwide is ominous, especially weeks to the general elections. This undesirable trend must be stopped immediately. State Governments and the Federal Government must come up with proactive measures to stem the tides of violent kidnappers including the new dimension introduced where the dark-hearted criminals burn the residence of their victims in broad day light. The anarchy going on in the country must be stopped forthwith.
“Concerned about the multifarious security challenges confronting the nation notorious amongst which is kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, some governors have taken the initiative to set up security outfits owned and funded by their respective state governments. The Amotekun Corps operational in the South-West, Ebube Agu in the South-East and the Benue Guards in Benue State.
“However, despite the persistent calls by Governors like Samuel Ortom and Rotimi Akeredolu for the Federal Government to license these security outfits to bear arms, the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has been intransigent and refused to do so whilst it granted a state-owned security firm in Katsina to bear AK-47! What injustice!
“It’s high time for government to grant licences for AK-47 firearm to all adults with clean record and without crime. The formation of the National Guard is equally important. The Federal Government must ensure the liberalisation of AK-47 licences for all adults without criminal past who should be under regular evaluation by the Department of State Services.
“Unarguably, Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to life of every Nigerian Citizen. According to Section 17(2)(b) of the same constitution, ‘the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised’ and Section 33(2)(a) makes self defence lawful when undertaken in ‘defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property’.
“Certainly, the Federal Government has failed in its primary duty as stated under section 14(2)(b) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which goes thus: ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.
“It is, therefore, not out of place for the Federal Government to act and grant arms licence to the people to defend themselves and their lands as canvassed by former Chief of Army Staff, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, who have said it repeatedly that Nigeria is being brought to ruin by heavily armed “useless” criminals. The earlier the Buhari regime heed the call for self-defence the better. Nigerians are not supposed to fold their hands while marauders have a field day.
“HURIWA also call for investigation to expose sponsors of these disturbances and prosecute them in accordance with the principle of rule of law.”
January 22, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.