Security expert Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo (retd.) has revealed that the possession of firearms by non-state actors fuels banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, and other forms of violence in Nigeria.
Drawing from his extensive expertise, Stan-Labo highlighted the pressing concern of individuals openly carrying firearms in public spaces without facing legal consequences.
He emphasized that this alarming trend contributes significantly to a security threat that cannot be ignored.
Furthermore, Stan-Labo highlighted the dire consequences of non-state actors wielding automatic weapons, which poses a direct challenge to the state’s authority over firearm possession.
He affirmed that the ability to brandish such weapons without state backing reflects a systemic issue that hinders the nation’s efforts to effectively combat banditry and terrorism.
Stan-Labo stated, “The security menace posed by non-state actors brandishing automated weapons and challenging the state’s monopoly on possession of automated firearms is disturbing.
“No one can freely brandish automated small arms in Nigeria without state backing. This is one of the reasons why the fight against banditry and terrorism remains difficult in Nigeria, as some non-state actors are carrying out the bidding of their masters.
“Leadership at both the national and sub-national levels has remained complicit in their actions, showing less commitment to the national goal of defeating these belligerents.
“The situation in Southern Kaduna is indicative of a vindictive genocidal intent. The viral video confession of the former governor of Kaduna State encapsulates this.”
He therefore urged the government to implement a strategy to mop up illicit small arms and weapons from wrong hands, rejuvenate border control protocols for effectiveness, provide monetary compensation for those who voluntarily surrender their arms and ammunition, conduct weapon surrender exercises for ex-militants, enforce heavy sanctions for illegal firearm possession, and revisit the ECOWAS protocol on Free Trade and Movement to assess its impact on national security interests.
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