Following the current tension in Benue state over the massacre of innocent citizens by Fulani herdsmen, a local army has just been formed in Ekiti state, backed by the state government, and mandated to protect its citizens from any uprising or attack by the herdsmen. The step also came with instructions for everyone to defend themselves, as may be required. The rationale was that security agencies are failing, and risking to trust them alone will further endanger their lives.
While many Nigeria elite and security forces would say this is going too far, it may be the best dose to mitigate this bloodletting. The federal government seems to be downplaying the severity of this herdsmen case, but the losses caused are nothing short of terrorism, and countries like Israel are excellent examples of how citizens can help win the war against such innocent killings. Also, if such step was taken in Uganda in 1970, the country would have saved 300, 000 Christians from being exterminated.
Taking the following steps one at a time, Isreal and the Czech Republic were able to make a fighter of almost everyone, and terrorists had it difficult looting through their ever-suspicious eyes.
- Fight the enemy from a united front: In both countries, citizens were made to hold high the virtue of resilience and a sense of responsibility, driving them to work for the defence of the nation and themselves as much as security officers do. We allow ourselves to be distracted by ethnic affiliations and mild reactions, instead of isolating the enemy and taming it immediately.
- Sensitization and training: Israeli go through a mandatory military training. The objective of this is to make a fighter of everyone, whether they need to fight or not, but they usually really do. We can reduce the number of casualties from these attacks, if honourable young men could, at least, stand up to fight.
- A new method for gun-control: As long as you have no criminal records, and you have a traceable family, the two countries will allow every adult to keep a gun. This is not to advocate for easy access to guns, but people of proven character should be allowed to control such firearm for self-defence. At the moment, you either operate as a group or seek the President’s permission before owning a gun. This should be amended to tame these incessant killings.
Terrorism, ethnic fights and other undue uprising demand that citizens stay awake, and fight when need be, without having to depend on military help every minute. The common argument would be that this can result in lawlessness and abuse, but we have the responsibility to have a thorough check of those who receive the licence. A strategic approach to gun-control will not increase crimes, but like Australia forced gun owners to give them up and crime rates escalated afterwards, we keep the citizens at extreme risk if they are unable to defend themselves.