From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has backed the call by Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle, for citizens to bear firearms against bandits terrorising the country.
Its Director of Strategic Communication, Samaila Musa, in a statement, yesterday, challenged the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lucky Irabor, to explain to Nigerians how many personnel 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 the same.
The spokesman, aside commending Governor Matawalle for backing the move, said the agitation for a security task force modelled after Civilian-JTF, called ‘Arewa Security Task Force’ 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 CDS that 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 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 Area 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 time the CNG’s suggestions that a security task force 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 task force 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 task force 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.”