Who would have envisaged that a sitting governor can be so overwhelmed by insecurity in his own state in Nigeria to suggest that people be allowed to carry arms to confront the escalating banditry, insurgency and other violent crimes being witnessed across the country today? Last week, highly devastated and rattled Katsina State Apc governor, Aminu Masari could not hide his frustration but had to speak loudly to the hearing of the world, that except the people are allowed to bear arms to fight and defend themselves, there is nothing the government can do to save them and their property. He was talking to his people who are being killed daily by bandits and insurgents, who kidnap at will, take over markets and overrun the communities. Masari seems to have given up after all exhaustive measures put in place to contain the situation have failed. He said he has done everything humanly possible a governor can do, but without success and therefore, the people need not rely on the government anymore, else they will all be killed by bandits.
Almost a week after Masari spoke, not even the federal government or any of the many security agencies of the government have come out to respond nor invite him for questioning. Obviously because they can not help the situation. It is rather strange that the Nigerian security agencies which we know to be very proactive have suddenly become cold. None has come out to assert or reaffirm their capacity to contend the escalating insecurity occasioned by the ever growing capacity of the bandits to overrun the nation. Governor Masari must be commended for being honest and sincere in his statement. To him, it’s better to admit limitations than keep deceiving his people because he will give account to God. He believed there is no point playing politics with the lives and hard earned properties of the people who voted him into office. While many other governors kept pretending and deceiving their people, Masari believes that the people who stood in the sun to vote for him and who are suffering from many challenges, deserve a better deal.
The fear, anxiety, confusion and frustration generated by the outburst of Gov Masari is so deep that many citizens have become sleepless and many more are equally thinking outside the box for a practical solution. Masari is not a local government chairman neither is he a Commissioner or Adviser on security, but a sitting governor and chief security officer of his state. If he is pushed by circumstances to say what he said, then every sane and smart thinking Nigerian must wake up from sleep. As a man in government and power, he knows what he is saying. He is telling us that the situation is beyond the control of the government and therefore, everyone to his tent oh Israel.
He is telling us to seek help elsewhere and where we can be the help, so be it. He is telling us to sleep with one eye open. This is the chief security officer of the state of Katsina, the home state of the President and Commander in Chief, talking.
This is not a political statement. It is a serious talk that deserves serious and critical attention. The governor has to say this in view of the many lives that have been lost and huge economic loses that have equally been incurred. In the last many months, the governor has had course to shed tears because he has seen the suffering of his people taken too far. He has visited the camp of bandits, snapped pictures with them, paid huge ransoms just to rescue his people from kidnappers, but no success. His people have seen danger and passed through a lot of pains, sorrow and anguish.
The governor’s statement must be analysed nationally. It is beyond Katsina. Am sure if Masari is the President, he would have said it in Abuja for the application of the entire nation. What Masari said should be echoed by the entire Governor’s forum to make it sink down across the nation. Even the heads of the various security agencies must make critical analysis of this statement and brief the citizens, prepare them for what to expect. If they are capable of containing the situation, let concrete assurances be given to build hope and if on the opposite, there should be legitimate arrangements for the protection of the people.
Many Nigerians have proposed different solutions to the seemingly unending security crisis which has affected every geopolitical zone of the federation. Many also have advanced options as to how best to address violent crimes and criminalities across the country.
While many states are in support of state and community policing, others have advocated legislation towards the bearing of prohibited arms by individuals who can afford them. This is because many persons are illegally in possession of prohibited arms causing maximum harm. Can legalising arms be a permanent solution? By our laws, it is a serious offence to carry prohibited weapons. If everybody is allowed to hold dangerous arms or weapons, it surely can breed new forms of criminality. It will increase the wave of ethnic, communal, tribal, political and religious conflicts.
Carrying arms illegally is an offence against the state but bandits have been carrying weapons illegally without being arrested by the same state. Should we carry on with the illegality or wait and be killed illegally? If we are killed illegally by illegal means, what is the justification? If we respond illegally to address an illegality, what is the illegality?
Something urgent needs to be done to address the escalating security crisis. The national assembly should either legislate quickly to liberalise the carrying of arms or the security agencies wake up to their responsibilities of urgently curbing the illegal possession of arms. It is scary that even the Presidency has not said anything about what Governor Masari said.
Maybe, they are weighing the options. May God Almighty help Nigeria regain her lost security and grant us peace, unity and stability, love and tolerance for one another. AMEN.