The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has faulted the directive of the Zamfara state governor urging his state residents to arm themselves for self-defence in the wake of banditry. Following the unabated banditry activities that have engulfed the state, the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawale had yesterday urged Zamfara state residents to procure or acquire arms for self-defence against the bandits. Similarly, the Governor also directed the state Commissioner of police to facilitate the acquisition of the arms by residents through the prompt issuance of a licence to those who indicate interest and are qualified to bear the arms.
However, reacting to the order, the CDS, Irabor faulted the blanket order by the Governor, saying the armed forces are there to do their job as the Governor's order may amount to throwing the public into chaos.
Irabor made these remarks today during the opening of the joint exercise for the National defence college and War College of the Armed forces of Nigeria code-named ‘Exercise Grand Nationale’ held in Abuja.
The CDS also made observations that such an order will bring up issues around the constitutionality of the order.
He said, “I believe that, in my view, it is not the right way to go,”
Irabor explained that “Of course, there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, in particular, the police and other security agencies are doing to address insecurity in Zamfara and environs.
“Beyond that, of course, there are other legal issues, other issues of governance, issues that the government could have addressed using the instrumentality of the law that are available for him to bring greater peace and security.
The Army Chieftain added “But like I said, I do not intend to say much about it, but I believe that the federal government, using the attorney-general, will look at the details of that press release and give further instruction.
“If what I read is true, I do not also think that the governor has the power to instruct the commissioner of police to issue licences because the commissioner of police does not have the power to issue licences.”
Irabor in his submission revealed that the Armed forces have been on their toes since the commencement of the banditry by the criminals which is in line with the provision of the constitution.
He pointed out that what the military is doing in Zamfara state and environs and other states of the federation is a defence according to the provision of the constitution.
The Military is in those states to give support to the civil authority, which is the police since the problem has become overwhelming to them.
He concluded that “We do not need to restate what the issues are that have led to the deployment of the military across the country. But then, as I said, we are doing the very best to ensure that peace returns to every part of the country.”