Arming Vigilantes Spreads Light Arms, Rights Activist Warns
While the Nigerian government says efforts are on to check proliferation of light arms and weapons, more and more states are empowering vigilantes with most of them giving arms to check the activities of herdsmen.
This has become a source of worry for a human rights activist and a lawyer, Mr Mohammed Mustapha, who has expressed fears that this could be dangerous for Nigeria if not properly controlled.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria in Jalingo that governments should desist from supplying arms to vigilantes, describing it “a threat to national security".
Arming vigilante members would increase the spread of light weapons in Nigeria, he said.
He expressed worries that vigilantes were not properly trained to bear arms, adding that they could be easily manipulated by extremist groups and politicians to perpetrate crime.
Mustapha's opinion is coming days after Taraba State government allegedly recruited 1,800 vigilantes to enforce its open grazing prohibition law.
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He alleged that the state government was planning to supply dane guns or weapons to the vigilantes which according to him was illegal and punishable by law.
However, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Mr Bala Dan-Abu, confirmed that the state government was training vigilantes but it had no intention to arm them.