BY TOLA ADENIYI
Now it is official, coming from no less a personality and political stalwart than Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state. Yes. The respected General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma admonished all those trapped in the fiendish Nigerian contraption to seek protection from outside the compromised and partisan Caliphate controlled ‘Nigerian’ Military about two years ago. Some deaf Nigerians living in self-denial did not pay heed. Good enough the Central Unitary Government in Abuja could not fault his knowledge-based warning that there was nothing called wholesome Nigerian Military anymore. The Governor of Katsina State Bello Masari who shares the same May 29 birthday with me, 5 years younger though, had expressed similar warning out of frustration when his largely Hausa farmers were being slaughtered like chicken on daily basis.
In fact, Masari cried out that he had been deceived by the local Fulani and imported terrorists who swore on the Holy Qur’an that they would stop their atrocities. He too called on his people to arm themselves against the marauders.
Just last weekend he shared pictures and videos of his people trooping out to neighbouring Niger Republic to escape further routine mindless massacre. Thank goodness and common-sense when reality dawned on courageous Governor Matawalle when he cried out, with official stamp to boot, that his citizens must possess arms and ammunitions to counter the surge of terrorism that had kept Zamfara state indigenes captive on their own soil.
I felt relieved that many people are now responding to the conclusion of my column last week ‘Stop the influx of Terrorists into Nigeria’ when I posed the question: ‘What did Jesus say about possessing a sword?’. “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” [Luke 22:36-38.] Here is the summary of Bello Matawalle’s directive to his people after officially recruiting 19,800 Community Guards being 200 in each of the 19 Emirates [of course they would be armed]: He also announced an additional paramilitary unit to support control and command, to properly and effectively reinforce the operations of Community Protection Guards (CPG). In the preamble to the order, the Governor said *”A handful of bandits with the monopoly of wielding guns against the defenceless people of Zamfara, have made life miserable for the teeming population*” And that exactly is what is happening throughout the brutishly terrorized country, insulted by the boring repetitive official crocodile tears and empty assurances of bringing ‘perpetrators to book’.
The Governor thereafter in a statement by his Commissioner of Information Ibrahim Dosara gave residents the go ahead to acquire guns to defend themselves against bandits that have been terrorizing them. The Governor noted that Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina have been in bandits’ grip with the terrorists becoming more audacious in their attacks. “Recall that the Katsina State Government [the home state of Mr. President] was the first to urge residents of the state to ‘obtain guns to defend themselves’ against terrorists who have been attacking them” the statement said.
Daily Trust reported that the Zamfara government also “directed the state commissioner of police to issue (gun) license” to people who are qualified and willing to use the guns. This directive by the governor to liberalize gun ownership may reverse the trend in the short term. “
The governor equally banned riding of motorbikes in some designated areas and anyone found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as a terrorist and security agencies are, thereby, directed to shoot such persons at sight.” Self-preservation is the first law of Nature. We cried and cried, and almost every reasonable person in the land asked for the decentralization of the Police Force to effectively combat the nuisance of bandits, kidnappers and the rampaging terrorists. We had several levels of policing in Nigeria before. However, someone or a group of people with severe ulterior agenda just shut the gate against the realization of the creation of state and local government police as it obtains in all countries of the world except Nigeria which glorifies in celebrating Stone Age mentality. If Ondo state had had State Police or if Akure Metropolis had had her own Police Force, certainly the blood-thirsty cowards that went on murderous campaign at the Catholic Church in Owo would have thought twice before embarking on such carnage. Now it is official. Every state governor must take advantage of their immunity to dare the Military decree-backed document mischievously called ‘Constitution’ and bring arms to their respective states and arm their people against wanton daily slaughter and kidnapping-for-ransom which their citizens are being excruciatingly subjected to. Every Nigerian must admit the fact that there is no government at the center to look up to, especially a government that says ‘security is not the business of the federal government’. Or a leader that says ‘you should be tolerant’ with terrorists!
It is a simple fact that you cannot be law-abiding in a lawless society. Nigeria is a terrible lawless society where anything goes. And worse than that, it is a country that purportedly operates several layers of discordant and discriminatory laws.
A country where you don’t even know which uniform worn by supposed Security personnel is genuine or fake. And a country where the Government, out of sinister motive, confuses you with interchangeable uniforms for the Army, Navy, Air-force and the Police!! The only country in the world where such confusion is in the ascendancy. Now that a state government led by a member of the National Council of State has officially declared that it is legal for citizens of his state to purchase arms and protect themselves, no sensible Nigerian who values his/her life should surrender whatever weapon in his possession to anybody. In fact, he should buy more. He should stockpile to distribute to able-bodied persons close to him. Why should anyone surrender their weapons to a so-called Authority that has been accused on several occasions of aiding and abetting terrorists and kidnappers? What moral authority does anyone who condones others carrying unlicensed, very illegal AK-47 rifles in the open have to ask others in the same country to surrender their own weapons? Any state governor who is afraid to follow the courageous and rightful step taken by Matawalle is not fit to be called a man. And surely such a governor should know that sooner or later he will face the wrath of his electors who entrusted their care, protection, safety and general well-being to his leadership.
Let it be made clear here. Nobody is inciting anybody. Matawalle has not incited anybody. At a point, government in Abuja asked people to defend themselves. Are they expected to defend themselves with their teeth or bare hands? Whoever whimsically thinks that someone is inciting someone must be living under intoxicating illusion that the armed personnel protecting him/her from the wrath of the suffering masses would be with him or her forever.
To quote Ambassador Kazaure: ‘there is life after power’. If you doubt the aphorism, check on former governors, former military generals, former permanent secretaries, former Managing Directors in your neighbourhood! Following Governor Matawalle’s bold directive as the Chief Security Officer of his state which should be taken as applicable to all other states in Nigeria, and also responding to similar directives by the Katsina state governor, the admonition by General Danjuma and the recent courageous stand of the Ondo State governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, I earnestly expect all Nigerians of adult age or the age of herders parading AK-47 all over the place to go out en masse and apply for gun licences and, if refused, should acquire guns the same way those under-age herders carrying guns acquired theirs. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. The era of intimidation, timidity and sycophantic hero-worship is gone forever in Nigeria.
The #EndSars heroes and heroines had shown us the legitimate way to go. Nigerian youths and their suffering and repressed elders say a loud ‘No’ to oppression, victimization. People cannot just wait to be killed without raising a finger. No man-made law can forbid you from protecting your life; from defending yourself, your family and your property.
Get yourself a gun! It is official. Protect your right to life. It is a cardinal right in the UN Charter of Rights. Remove the chains: remove the shackles and set yourself free!. Matawalle’s name would be written in gold when Posterity beckons.