The Federal Government has dismissed the calls of Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, some individuals and organisations, that people should defend themselves against bandits.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammed Dingyadi, during the 2nd annual media briefing at Force headquarters in Abuja, said the government was not in support of citizen self-defence as proposed, saying Masari and others are entitled to their opinions.
“I think we should know that we are in Nigeria, where everybody is entitled to his opinion. I think the governor has the right to canvass for what he thinks it is right in his state,” the minister said.
He, however, justified the calls if it is based on community policing strategies in order to improve security of the communities.
Dingyadi also stressed that the challenges presented by the bandits was the guerilla warfare strategy of hit-and-run which the armed forces were determined to contain.
According to him, the government and the armed forces needed the support of the citizenry as the government was “equal to the task”.
He added, “Of course, we shouldn’t expect the people to just be sleeping without taking measures to ensure that they secure themselves, they secure their neighbours and they secure their communities. That is the essence of community policing.
“So, we need to have the support and partnership of Nigerians in the efforts we are making towards fighting crimes and criminalities. I think that is what the governor is talking about.
Everybody should contribute his quota towards fighting crimes. We are not saying people should take arms illegally.
“What we’re saying is that people should get ready in whatever it takes to do so, to ensure that we protect ourselves, we protect our neighbours, we protect our communities.”