According to the state government, guns would be purchased and made available to some vigilantes, who would be given some sort of training. The government grounded its position on the inability of some 4,000 police personnel in the state to be always and readily available everywhere in an area with about 4 million people. In reaction, top echelons in the nation’s security apparatus have voiced their objection to the plan, although they recognised the right and duty of the state government to protect its people from aggression by criminals.
There are some salient issues to be raised from the controversy which I think are pertinent in support for the state government. Of course, there is the fear the vigilantes might not have enough training to handle the weapons, as such the criminals may take advantage of that to disarm them. But how could we reason that the criminals are better trained than the vigilantes? Defensive use of weapons is always different from offensive use. In the latter, one needs to be better trained, at least to be a step ahead of his opponent; vigilantes are naturally meant for defence.
Another issue is dangers of lethal weapons proliferation in civic society, even in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Accidental deaths are probable, which may result from poor manning of weapons or other arbitrary decisions. Again, the possibility of the weapons to slip into the wrong hands should not be overlooked. Still, more guns remains the second best option if criminals, with sophisticated arms could besiege and pillage and kill dozens of unsuspecting villagers, and get away scot-free!
Moreover, when a person wields guns for personal defence is when the danger of accidental deaths or harming oneself becomes more potent. But when the entire community is needed to rise up against attacks, no one should fear or object to see his peaceable neighbour toting a gun.
Lastly, there is one important point concerning arming the vigilantes. That is the threat that the posturing is likely to pose to the would-be attackers, which may keep them away for good. Threat of self-defence is often itself a deterrence to attack or crime. Because a weapon is not just wielded to launch an attack but also to brandish and deter a potential attack. Criminal are always looking for a vulnerable prey and, when they are left in the murk that they cannot differentiate the vulnerable one; they will fear to attack.
Therefore, arming the law-abiding citizens in strategic villages for self-defence can deter attack completely and bring a lasting peace.
Ibrahim Muhammad, Kurfi, Katsina state