Activist calls on Tinubu government to legalise gun ownership for Nigerians over rising insecurity

A Nigerian activist and author, Raphael Adebayo, has called on the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government to legalise and democratise access and opportunity to own and use firearms and ammunition in Nigeria.

Adebayo explained that the legalisation of firearms and ammunition could no longer be avoided due to the insecurity crisis in most parts of the country that had turned ordinary Nigerians into sitting ducks.
In a 15-point statement released on Saturday, January 20, 2024, the activist stated that Nigerians are under a “violent siege by Islamist terrorists, Fulani herders, and violent criminals.”

Adebayo declared that “the last ten years have exposed the disgraceful ineptitude of the Nigerian security apparatus to protect Nigerians,” adding that the Tinubu administration has ‘publicly confessed to the people’s suspicion that the Nigerian state has relinquished its authority and constitutional mandate to diligently protect the country’s forests and the people living within and around heavily forested areas.’

Adebayo explained that the police to population ratio in Nigeria is ‘grossly insufficient’ and lamented the fact that ‘there are more illegal guns than there are actual human beings in the most populous country of Black people on earth.’ According to the activist, this dreadful situation means that ‘most ordinary Nigerians are practically sitting ducks for Islamist terrorists, Fulani herders, and violent criminals.’

Recounting the security crisis across Nigeria, the activist explained that it is highly unfortunate that kidnappers are controlling major highways and terrorists have taken over numerous villages and communities in the country, demanding ‘terror levies’ from residents and killing those who fail to meet the demand. He added that ‘Nobody is safe: Christians, Muslims, farmers, ethnic minorities, youth, men, women, and most unfortunately, children.’
However, Adebayo believes all hope is not lost.

According to the activist, it is time for the Nigerian government to ‘declare a State of Emergency on Insecurity in Nigeria and legalize gun ownership for all persons above 18 years old who are mentally fit to protect themselves, their properties, and their families.’ He added that this is in line with Section 33 (2) (a) of the 1999 constitution as amended, concluding that ‘Since the Nigerian state can no longer protect the people, it is time for the people to protect themselves.’

The statement said, “On Christmas Eve of 2023, over 150 Christians were savagely slaughtered in Plateau State while thousands were displaced from their homes and ancestral land without any immediate assistance from the security apparatus of the Nigerian state.

“Likewise, we are barely halfway through the first month of 2024 and Islamist terrorists are already slaughtering Christians and other residents for failing to pay “terror levies” in villages gripped by the reign of terror of these vicious Islamists in the middle belt.

“Similarly, kidnappers have taken over major highways and cities, including the Federal Capital Territory, ransoming and killing citizens with reckless abandon and forcing the rest of the country to crowdfund for the release of the abducted. Nobody is safe: Christians, Muslims, farmers, ethnic minorities, youth, men, women, and most unfortunately, children.

“The Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas, has spoken on behalf of President Tinubu’s government and publicly confessed to the people’s suspicion that the Nigerian state has relinquished its authority and constitutional mandate to diligently protect the country’s forests and the people living within and around heavily forested areas. By this admission, the Nigerian state is obviously confused and unable to safeguard the lives and properties of ordinary Nigerians.

“The police-to-population ratio in Nigeria is grossly insufficient at less than 150 police officers for every 100,000 Nigerians, despite the creation of the Special Intervention Squad by the Acting Inspector General of Police in mid-2023.

“It is, therefore, time to declare a State of Emergency on Insecurity in Nigeria and legalize gun ownership for all persons above 18 years old who are mentally fit to protect themselves, their properties, and their families. Section 33 (2) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended supports the right of Nigerians to defend themselves and their properties.

“According to statistics from the United Nations, Nigeria is presently home to 70% of over 500 million illegal small arms and light weapons in all of West Africa. In other words, there are more illegal guns than there are actual human beings in the most populous country of Black people on earth, which effectively means that most ordinary Nigerians are practically sitting ducks for Islamist terrorists, Fulani herders, and violent criminals of all kinds in Nigeria.

“Apart from terrorists and violent criminals, a significant number of these illegal guns are owned and used by celebrities, public servants, and politicians in Nigeria. The immediate ex-chief of Central Bank Godwin Emefiele, for instance, was recently arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, an offence that currently attracts a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

“The right to self-defence and protection of property and family must cease to be the preserve of the rich, powerful, and connected in Nigeria. It is time for Nigeria to democratize access to the legal purchase, ownership, and use of firearms and ammunition. Only equal access and opportunity to legally purchase, own, and use firearms and ammunition can save ordinary Nigerians from this violent siege by Islamist terrorists, Fulani herders, and violent criminals. Since the Nigerian state can no longer protect the people, it is time for the people to protect themselves.”

 

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