Senator Shehu Sani
Senator Shehu Sani

Shehu Sani advocates right to bear arms after recent terror attacks

NEWS DIGEST – Senator Shehu Sani says the terror events of the past week are enough reasons to allow Nigerians to bear arms, a suggestion the Buhari administration has shown to be averse to, most notably when it pushed for stricter gun control measures in 2021.

Against president Buhari’s stance that the proliferation of small arms was the driver of insecurity in the country, Mr Sani argues that Nigerians should be afforded a chance to protect themselves given the government’s inability to repress acts of insurgency since it took power.

On Monday night, bandits successfully took control of a passenger train headed for Kaduna from the Federal Capital Territory after they managed to halt its course with explosives and gunshots.

At least nine persons were killed in that attack, including a young doctor Chinelo who would be travelling out of the country later that week, and dozens more remain missing, suspectedly kidnapped by their abductors in hopes of getting a ransom.

Two days before the train bombing, about 200 armed men attacked the Kaduna International Airport and openly confronted Nigerian troops.

Nigerians have seen terror attacks graduate from the herder-farmer crisis and school children abductions to highway banditry and open attacks on infrastructures and facilities.

Not only does Senator Shehu question Nigeria’s failing security framework but he ponders what any Nigerian could do to save himself.

“If the Government and security agencies can’t crush these terrorists and Bandits kidnapping and killing our people in Northern and Southern Kaduna, people should be officially allowed to carry the same weapons and let’s see who owns the land,” Mr Shehu, senator for Kaduna Central between 2015 and 2019, wrote on Twitter.

This would also not be the first time a Nigerian stakeholder has turned to self-defence and suggested a constitutional right to bear arms despite fears it might result in anarchy.

In August 2020, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, appealed to the federal government to allow citizens to bear arms.

Just as highway banditry peaked last year, a human rights lawyer, Michael Omirhobo, wrote to the president to request a license to own an AK-47 rifle to protect himself.

“In the face of insecurity in Nigeria, many Nigerians have talked about the need for Nigerians to bear arms,” he said last July.

Given these pleas, Mr Buhari’s charge to the Nigerian army not to spare anyone “unlawfully” wielding AK-47 in the aftermath of the Monday train bombing reiterates his strong position against the acquisition of small arms.

“My earlier directive about that the military should deal ruthlessly with terrorist stands. Anyone found unlawfully wielding an AK 47 should not be spared! No one should be allowed to hold the country to ransom,” the president said.