The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, on Monday said the Zamfara State government has no power to instruct the police to issue gun license to residents of the state despite rising cases of kidnapping and banditry.
The CDS, who spoke with journalists at the Joint Exercise for the National Defence College and War College of the Armed Forces of Nigeria code named “Exercise Grand Nationale” in Abuja, insisted that the people of the state can not bear arms to defend themselves against bandits.
He said: “If what I read is true, I do not also think that the governor has the power to instruct the commissioner of police to issue licenses, because the commissioner of police does not have the powers to issue licences.”
He maintained that bearing arms by individuals was unnecessary because “the armed forces and other security agencies are there to handle the challenges.”
However, Iraboh said it was the responsibility of the Attorney General of the Federation to look at the constitution and the laws to see whether the governor had such powers.
In his words: “I believe that, in my view, it is not the right way to go. Of course, there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, in particular, the police and other security agencies, are doing to address insecurity in Zamfara and environs.
“Beyond that, of course, there are other legal issues, other issues of governance, issues that the government could have addressed using the instrumentality of the law that are available for him to bring greater peace and security.
“But like I said, I do not intend to say much about it, but I believe that the Federal Government, using the Attorney General, will look at the details of that press release and give further instruction.
“The armed forces was only an instrument of policy implementation and can not not take instructions from state governments. The nation’s Constitution give rights and powers only to the Commander-in-Chief for the use of the Armed forces.
“I believe that what we are doing in Zamfara and of course, across the states of the federation, is in deference to the provisions of the constitution. So, we are there because we are there to give support to the civil authority, in this case, the police.
“We do not need to restate what the issues are that have led to the deployment of military across the country but then, like I said, we are doing the very best to ensure that peace returns to every part of the country.”