Benue prof: Anarchy will ensue if Nigerians engage in self-defence

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A Professor of History at the Benue State University (BSU), Prof. Armstrong Adejo, says the call to arms for the purpose of self-defence is a “potent force for a greater level of destabilisation and violence” in the country.

He stated this a few weeks after Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom encouraged the people of the state to obtain dane gun licences from local government areas for self-defence.

Speaking at a church service in the Government House, Makurdi in May, Ortom said, “I’ll no longer announce the deaths of those killed by Fulani herdsmen, rise up and defend yourselves with weapons not prohibited by law, bows and arrows, spears and knives. Get licence for dane guns from local government Chairmen and use them to defend yourselves.”

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Reacting, Adejo blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly allowing insecurity in the country to escalate due to his inaction.

He said that while the president had what it took to confront insecurity in the country, he was too slow to take action.

The university don said it was this slowness to action that fuelled calls for self-defence.

“When the issue of this criminality began, when the issue of herdsmen began, everybody expected that he would have confronted that directly and immediately even if it’s by words of action.

“But he was so silent over it and allowing the instruments of the organized security to tackle this. And the state security itself, because he is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, needed a proper direction. He didn’t provide that. There is no doubt about it. It is only now that he is coming out to say something more clearly and it is almost too late,” Adejo told Daily Sun.

However, he said a call to arms for self-defence was counter-productive.

“The call to arms is a potent force for a greater level of destabilisation and violence. If each of us starts arming himself, we will even become a potent problem for the next neighbour, not even to talk about national issues.

“People raise certain solutions under emotion and under very difficult situations that seem to becloud what will happen tomorrow.

“We are in a tense situation and everybody is saying defend yourself; I think that is not a potent way to go. We must focus on the apparatus of the state. The government and its tentacles, whether at the sub-national level, or central level, this task is for them.

“The constitutional role of government is to protect its people. Transferring that responsibility to the individual is an abdication of their responsibility. And it is a call to anarchy and I think nobody should support that,” Adejo said.

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