ABUJA (Sundiata Post) Some of my friends and brothers are promoting armed self-defence as a solution to the insecurity in Zamfara, Kaduna, Benue, Adamawa, Taraba and other states. I’m not opposed to it in principle, but human experience of self-defence with guns has made me cautious.
In Benue State, farmer-herder clashes led to government forming an armed vigilante group tasked with defending communities from attacks by criminal herdsmen. Soon enough, vigilantes started killing for hire and attacking the communities they should defend. Some of their leaders are even alleged BH members.
Individual self-defence has its own problems. Acquiring shotguns (pump-action rifles) legally costs money and connections that are beyond the reach of village-dwellers who are the major victims at Maru, Birnin-Gwari, Agatu, Logo and other areas. And while illegal guns may cost less, the owner may land in jail.
What more, legal or not, proliferation of guns in any society means more homicide rates, as we see in the United States today. Too many men and women suffer psychiatric illnesses that remain undiagnosed and untreated, especially in Nigeria. Allow them to own guns and you’d have massacres worse than the US experience.
So, self-defence may look appealing but It is difficult in practice and may create new security problems demanding new solutions. Government is best placed to provide security to citizens, whether in Nigeria or Nicaragua. When the government fails, voters should elect a more responsive government.