Many people have postulated many solutions to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria. Despite it all, insecurity remains a major sociological problem Nigeria faces on multiple fronts. From banditry to kidnapping to terrorism to militia herdsmen clashes, we lose innocent lives every day in Nigeria.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has given his two cents on how insecurity can be tackled in Nigeria. The governor has opined that responsible Nigerians be allowed to bear arms so as to defend themselves, Punch reports.
He said this at a media briefing with newsmen in Abuja, on Friday. According to him, there is nothing sinister about his call because the safety of the lives of law-abiding citizens has come under serious threat.
The governor said, “Right now, the policy (on licensing) we have is at the local government and state levels where Dane guns and double-barrelled guns are licensed; there is no way even pump action can stand AK 47.
“If the bandits, terrorists, and criminals know that where they are visiting to attack or destroy property and steal, the people around there have sophisticated weapons like they have, they will caution themselves.
“What we are saying is that kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists, none of them carry Dane guns, double-barrelled or pump action, they carry sophisticated weapons like AK 47; we can’t just fold our arms.
“For me, the call is a patriotic call. What I’m calling for is an upgrade of our laws based on the sophistication of crime. In the ’60s and ’70s, we never had criminals having AK 47 rifles and killing people like we have in the country today. I will write to the Presidency so that it will pass through the process of legislation.”
Can one say that this suggestion by Ortom could potentially reduce insecurity in Nigeria? There are reasons to doubt so. We know that poor people mostly have been the ones to suffer from insecurity. Is the governor then suggesting that even poor families should be allowed to bear arms? The ramifications of that are scary.
To be able to bear arms, one must have a very secure place for them to keep it. Poor people don’t have the means to do that. The danger in that then is that children may easily find where their parents stowed their gun and use it as a plaything.
Moreso, there is the likelihood of crime rate jumping when we allow more citizens to bear arms. The case of the United States is a classic example of that. Gun violence in the US is arguably the highest in the world. The US is a gun-loving country and that’s why gun violence is extremely bad there.
Allowing more Nigerians to bear arms could then lead to more violence in society. In trying to solve a problem, we shouldn’t create another problem on our hands.