The Zamfara State government has asked residents to arm themselves against bandits.
Decrying the high level of attacks in the state, Zamfara authorities directed the Commissioner of Police to issue gun licence to those eligible to bears arms.
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Zamfara has recorded numerous attacks in the ongoing banditry ravaging the North West region, while many attempts to placate the bandits have failed.
The government had entered into a phantom peace deal with the gangs and reportedly paid huge ransoms when students were abducted from classrooms, but the attacks continued.
At the height of attacks, telecommunication services were banned, while filing stations and markets were shut.
But the attacks continued with the recent abduction of 50 wedding guests.
In a statement on Sunday, the government said it is ready to facilitate securing of basic weapons for the people, especially farmers, to defend themselves.
“Following increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state and the government commitment to ensure adequate security and protection of lives and property of the citizenry in the state, particularly during this rainy season, government has resolved to take further measures to deal with the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping and the criminal levies being enforced on our innocent communities.”
“This act of terrorism has been a source of worry and concern to the people and government of the state. Therefore, in order to deal decisively with the situation in our respective communities, government has no option than to take the following measures:
“Government has henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves. Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. Government has already concluded arrangement to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 Emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.
“People must apply from the Commissioner of Police, license to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves. A secretariat or centre will be established for the collection of intelligence on the activities of informants.
“People are strictly warned and advised to make sure that any information or intelligence about an informant must be true and nothing but the truth, as all information on such informants must carry correct data on the suspects, including their pictures, correct names, address, occupation and witness to testify the genuity of the information given, as government is taking punitive measures against any one found as informant. Any person who give wrong information against anybody, will be served the same punishment with an informant and will be treated as such.
“Government has requested the state House of Assembly to pass, as matter of urgency, the informants bill before it, to enable government take the drastic measures on informants as contained in the bill.
“Government has ordered for the recruitment of 200 additional Community Protection Guards in each of the 19 emirates of the state, making it 500 per emirate, to increase their manpower and strengthen its force and capacity to deal with the bandits,” Ibrahim Dosara, Commissioner of Information, said in a statement.
The government also set up a committee to ensure proper implementation of the measures.
Photo credit: The Firearm Blog