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Recent call by a former Chief of Army Staff, and Minister of Defence, retired General T.Y. Danjuma, that communities in Taraba state and environs should bear arms and defend themselves against rampaging killer herdsmen has come as a wakeup call.

Recent call by a former Chief of Army Staff, and Minister of Defence, retired General T.Y. Danjuma, that communities in Taraba state and environs should bear arms and defend themselves against rampaging killer herdsmen has come as a wakeup call.

There is never in the history of this country had there been so brazen destruction of lives and properties along religious and ethnic sentiments. Across the nation, killer Fulani herdsmen, ethnic militias, cultists and kidnappers have made communities and towns unsafe for residents. Day after day we read about deadly attacks in our communities in the middle belt and northern Nigeria by suspected gunmen.
According to a United Nations report, there are over 350 million Small and Light Weapons, SALW in wrong hands in Nigeria. This data is very frightening and portends a grave and present danger to the Nigerian state. The Director, UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, UNREC, Mr. Anselm Yabouri, had disclosed this at a workshop in Abuja. Yabouri, who traced the sources of these influxes to Libya and Mali, and the conflicts in the North East and Niger Delta, spoke on Physical Security and Stockpile Management Standard Operating and Administrative Procedures Validation.
Getting these weapons off our towns and streets must be of topmost priority to the Muhammadu Buhari led federal government. Only recently, over 1,000 firearms, 7,661 rounds of ammunition and 147 explosives were recovered when 22,430 militants and cultists surrendered their arms in an amnesty programme in Rivers State.
Also in Benin City, the Edo State capital, the police command disclosed recently that it recovered 120 assorted firearms in just a month during its arms mop up operation. Similar operations have been reported in Kwara, Ogun and Benue states amongst other states but this is just a tip of the iceberg, given the wanton destruction of lives and property across the country, and the continued importation of these small and light weapons. We urge the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, PRESCOM to reappraise its present mode of operation to stop the incursion of weapons. We also urge the National Assembly to revisit the Nigerian Firearms Act, which was promulgated in 1959 so that tougher measures can be prescribed for would be offenders. President Buhari must take responsible for government's very poor handling of the Fulani herdsmen crisis which sadly, tacitly encouraged more devastating attacks on farm/landowners in the middle belt and prompted Danjuma's call for self defence. Nigeria Moment warns that Nigeria is on a precipice of a tribal and religious war and the federal government must deploy all its resources to ensure that this threat is nipped in the bud by bringing these violent attacks and killings to an end and ensure that the criminals are punished.

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