Mixed reactions have continued to trail the shoot at sight order of the federal government on anyone seen carrying an AK-47 rifle.
The National Security Adviser, General Mongunu and President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, had on behalf of the federal government, directed security forces to shoot any illegal carrier of AK-47 rifles in the bush.
They said the order was part of the drastic measures aimed at curbing banditry, insurgency and other violent crimes in the country.
However, there are divergent views on the directive by the Nigerian government.
While some commended the order, others condemned it, all with seemingly cogent reasons.
A security expert, in Ilorin, Dr Bolakale Suleiman, who is a retired senior officer with the State Security Service, SSS, described the order as a welcome development.
Dr Suleiman, who is the immediate past aide on Security and Intelligence to former governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, said President Buhari is correct.”
He argued that ” It is the only measure to stem the uncontrollable trend of illegal possession of sophisticated arms in Nigeria.”
However, a Professor of Criminology and Security Studies at the Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, Professor Joseph Odekunle Fayeye, hoped that ” The order is not medicine after death or flogging a dead horse.”
He viewed the shoot at sight directive as having two sides.
“First, the government appears to have woken up from a lethargic slumber on its constitutional responsibility of protecting the citizens.
“The citizens appeared to have been left in the open without sufficient care and protection, while herdsmen, bandits and Boko Haram insurgents proliferated arms,” he noted.
Secondly, Professor Fayeye declared that the order appeared belated with the backdrop of the narratives that the weapons in possession of the insurgents are by far more sophisticated than those carried by the regular government forces.
“Worst of all, are insinuations that key suppliers of weapons to the bandits are government, politicians and regional godfathers,” Fayeye added.
He further argued that the disarmament programmes of the government that retrieved light weapons from citizens, failed to protect the populace, while the corruption of key players in the defence industry decimated all illegally diverted funds to political opportunists.
A retired civil servant, Timothy Abidoye, in Ilorin, who also spoke to DAILY POST on the issue, faulted the Federal government saying ” Buhari has no authority to issue such orders.
“Until the court of law proves that the AK-47 rifle was carried illegally by the bearer, it is wrong to order the shoot at sight.
“You could order their arrest but not shoot at sight based on the United Nations convention which Nigeria is a party to.”
Abidoye, contended that any illegal arms bearer should be tried in the court of law before being sentenced to death or sent to jail if found guilty.
Professor Yomi Omoteso, of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, on his part doubted if the order will work.
“I wonder how the order will work,” he told DAILY POST, adding that “I have a feeling that an intelligence-driven effort may be more effective.”