Nigerian defense chief rebuts governor’s decision on firearms

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Nigeria’s defense chief, Lucky Irabor, on Monday strongly objected to the decision made by a state government in the restive northwest region to allow local people to bear arms to defend themselves against armed bandits.

The call was not right, as the armed forces and other security agencies were there to handle the security challenges, Irabor said at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Irabor said he was yet to understand the basis for asking the citizens of Zamfara to bear arms.

The Zamfara state government said in a statement on Saturday that residents should arm themselves following an increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state.

“The government has now directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns in order to defend themselves against bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue licenses to all those who qualify and wish to obtain such guns in order to defend themselves,” said the statement.

However, Irabor said it was the responsibility of the Attorney General of the Federation to look at the constitution and the laws to see whether the state government has such powers.

“I believe it is not the right way to go,” he added.

The defense chief said the armed forces were only an instrument of policy implementation, adding that they did not take instructions from state governments, and the constitution gives rights and powers only to the Commander-in-Chief for the use of the armed forces. Enditem

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