· Says non-state actors have more arms than security agencies
· Canvasses new legislation for arms control, disarmament
Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
Amid the rising activities of bandits, insurgents and terrorists nationwide, Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal yesterday recommended death penalty or life imprisonment for citizens found in possession of unlawful arms and weapon in the country.
Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, also urged the Presidency and National Assembly to come up with a legislation that would prescribe a disarmament period and clear regulation for arm control.
He made these recommendations at an interactive session with students and youth on security held at the Sultan Muhammadu Maccido Centre, Sokoto, expressing dissatisfaction with the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the country.
The governor observed that there “are more small arms and light weapons in the hand of non-state actors across the federation than there are in the hands of security operatives.”
He, therefore, urged the National Assembly and the Presidency to come up with a legislation, which according to him, would prescribe a disarmament period in the country.
He explained that those in possession of unlicensed arms “should go and register them. If the arms cannot be licensed, they should be surrendered to the government and the government will pay you your money.
“After the grace period, a maximum punishment like a death sentence or life imprisonment should be prescribed for unlawful possession of arms. This is the only way we can have peace in this country,” he said
Besides, the governor suggested a robust recruitment of security manpower, especially the police, in order to ensure the protection of the citizenry.
He, also, recommended an improved remuneration and life insurance for security operatives in the country and commended the federal government for establishing the Police Trust Fund, which he said would go a long way in addressing their challenges.
On the activities of bandits and kidnappers in some local government areas in Sokoto, the governor said the state government would soon establish a state vigilante group, which could be deployed to troubled areas.
He explained that the vigilante group would operate within the ambit of the law and in conjunction with security agencies, so that they would not take law into their hands.”
He recalled that the recent reprisal attacks in which the bandits killed dozens were triggered by the activities of vigilantes in some of the areas attacked.
He noted that ignorance and climate change “are among the causes of insecurity in the state. Some of the bandits lacked even basic knowledge of Islam, they are ignorant of what the religion says on killing of innocent soul.”
Tambuwal, therefore, tasked the dominant religious groups in the state to take their preachings to villages and other remote areas where it was needed the most, saying that education was vital to peace and development.