Following the spate of mass abduction of school children and Nigerians in their homes and places of worship, security experts say Nigerians must provide first layer of security to resist such attacks pending response from government forces.
A serving military officer I spoke to, queried why youths would have arms to engage in cultism, but not to protect their communities? Adding that the recent attacks on the University of Abuja Staff quarters would have been foiled if there was a little resistance from the community. He said the first step in ending mindless attacks on communities is the formation of first layer of security at the community level, with low grade weapons.
Secretary general, Veterans Federation of Nigeria (VFN) Awwal Abdullahi Aliyu, in a chat with me says it was time the government adopts recommendations of arming local vigilantes with modernised Dane guns, adding that such strategy would provide the first resistance needed to foil kidnap incidences and bandit attacks on communities.
“We have recommended in the past that some selected persons be allowed to carry certain local weapons, and that is why Hunters Group of Nigeria are allowed to carry Dane guns. But these Dane guns even though locally manufactured, some of them carry eight rounds.
That means you can shoot concurrently eight times before you are exhausted and will have to reload.”
He therefore, suggested that the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), modernise Dane guns and make them available to local vigilantes on license basis with strict supervision by the Nigerian Police, to be able to withstand the firing power of bandits who carry automatic weapons.
“Those hunters and vigilantes live within the communities, so they are community based people. If they have such level of weapons with permission, then with such level of strict monitoring and evaluation, when bandits come around to attack a community, they can come out and put up some level of resistance before the main force, Police or Army, come to crush the threat. I think that is important.That is what is called a first layer security or resistance.”
He, however, cautioned that the level of resistance is usually minimal in order not to create another dreaded monster, in an attempt to solve the problem, stating it would need to be a joint work, where the vigilantes provide necessary information and first resistance while police, army others will finish up the task of repelling, arresting them.
He mentions the vigilantes should be armed with conventional securities supervising them and giving instructions, and then collecting back the weapons from them upon return from duty.
He admits there could be misuse of the weapons, however, the benefit outweigh the risk, saying, “… if you find a misuse, such persons can be brought to book to serve as deterrent for those that intend to do so in the future.”