Niger Govt To Arm Vigilante With Pump-Action Guns
The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, on Monday promised that his government will arm vigilante group in the state with pump-action guns to enable them to fight against bandits and other security issues.
Bello while speaking with over 200 members of the vigilante group in Kasuwan Garba in Mariga Local Government Area of the state said the security volunteer groups would be armed to confront “these enemies of the people across the state.”
The decision of the Niger State Governor is part of the move to boost the morale of vigilante groups in the state.
The Niger State Governor noted that all vigilante groups in the state would be provided with automatic pump-action guns to enable them to take the fight to the bandits wherever they were hiding.
The governor said there was no amount of threat from the bandits that would force the government to disband the vigilante groups in the state.
“We are not going to disband the vigilante as a result of the threat from the bandits. Even when banditry activities in the state are stopped, the vigilante will still be there to provide security in the local government areas,” he said.
A retired police officer, Mohammed Saleh, who spoke on the decision of the governor said he must have reacted out of frustration.
“Governors are facing a tough time; they are the chief security officers in their states but this is just in the name because they don’t control the instrument of coercion including the police and the army. That is why you see the governors cashing on volunteer groups for support.”
“So, if you see a governor talking this year, it is because they want to assure their people that they are with them; that they share their pains. It is the same context with the way Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State spoke when he said Fulani herders carry AK 47 for self-defence.”
“My only fear is that pump action is a child’s play when compared with the kind weapons being used by the bandits.”
“My advice for the governors is to coalesce into a single force and sit with the federal government on the way forward. This brings the issue of state police. For now, only the FG through the Inspector General of Police can give someone license to carry guns but the truth of the matter is that the security situation is deteriorating and those who took an oath to protect the people must act fast,” he said.
A former Director of the Department of State Service, Mike Ejiofor, during an interview with DailyTrust, described the governor’s move as a step in the right direction but illegal.
He stated that since many states were already empowering their local vigilante with pump action guns, and it is not meant for protection, there is nothing bad in it.
He said: “Those crisis rifles, they are not meant for protection. I agree that most vigilante use pump-action… Nobody is licensed to carry guns for protection. Those guns they carry are for gaming.”
“But what most do is that they buy these guns and use them for protection. So, if he wants to do that, other states have been doing it, I don’t see anything wrong with such a decision but it is illegal.”
“Many states have been empowering their vigilante groups with all these local Dane guns and pump action. It is a step in the right direction because the only thing that gives these people power and rough on the people is because they are armed with sophisticated firearms.”
“Just like the president said that there should be a shot-at-sight, but I don’t know who is going to shoot; whether it is a security agent that will shoot somebody with an AK-47 or the market men who display the arms brazenly.”
“Everybody is concerned about security because this is a situation that requires very serious pressure since we are in an unusual situation,” he said.