Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has directed every citizen to own a rifle for personal protection.
The directive came after an attack on Mada community under Gusau Local Council, where bandits killed, wounded and forced thousands to flee their homes.
In a statement, the Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, explained that this decision was taken by the state government to ensure adequate security in the state, particularly during the rainy season.
He said: “Government has resolved to take further measures to deal with the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping and criminal levies being enforced on our innocent communities. This act of terrorism has been a source of worry to the people and government of the state.”
Therefore, to deal decisively with the situation, the Matawalle-led administration directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as government had directed the Commissioner of Police to issue licence to all those who qualify and wish to obtain such guns to defend themselves.
He said: “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 to the Commissioner of Police, for licence 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 about an informant is 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 genuineness of the information given, as government is taking punitive measures against any one found as informant.”
The state government warned that any person who gave wrong information against anybody would be punished. It requested the House of Assembly to urgently pass the informants bill before it, to enable government take the drastic measures on informants as contained in the bill.
Meanwhile, 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 their force and capacity to deal with the bandits.
A special committee, chaired by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kabiru Sardau, has been composed to implement the deriective.
Other members of the committee include: Chief of Staff to the Governor, Ibrahim Sulaiman and Commissioner for Security, DIG Mamman Tsafe.