Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, said the state government relied on an extant legislation to direct residents to acquire weapons to defend themselves.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the clarification was contained in a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Jamilu Magaji.
Magaji quoted the governor as making the remark while inaugurating some security committees in Gusau, the state capital.
The statement explained that the governor’s directive was part of the administration’s efforts to tackle protracted security challenges in the state.
It added that the state government was aware of the misgivings expressed in some quarters regarding the new measure.
The statement quoted the governor as saying that, “Self-defence is a natural instinct and has always been part of human survival strategy.
“As those entrusted with the safety of lives and property of the people, we will do everything possible to uphold this responsibility within the ambit of the law.
“We are also aware that the security forces are doing their best to combat this formidable challenge. “Their efforts are, however, hampered by the lack of adequate modern warfare equipment and the dearth of personnel.
“Our decision to mobilise people to secure their communities is, therefore, for the people to complement the efforts of the conventional security forces in dealing with banditry and fishing out informants
“The acquisition and usage of firearms by the public, who desire to do so, would be governed by the Nigeria Firearms Act.”
The statement added that the state government had explored all options to address the issue to no avail.
Meanwhile, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, on Tuesday, said the security situation in his state does not warrant giving citizens access to firearms.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Uzodimma said the security agencies in Imo have the situation under control.
He said, “The situation in Zamfara is not the same as Imo State. However, if the governor called for individuals to apply for licences, I think the government will give only the licence to a qualified and eligible candidate, provided he is the approving authority that is responsible for the issuance of licences.”