Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have given full support to the order given by President Buhari that bandits carrying AK-47 should be shot on sight.
The governor stated that the measure will reduce banditry, clashes between herders and farmers and other forms of criminality.
Senior lawyers contacted by our correspondents kicked against the order for being contrary to the law and might lead to unintended consequences.
Garba Shehu, Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, told the BBC Hausa Service during an interview aired on Wednesday that the directive showed the seriousness with which the government was taking banditry, kidnapping and other acts of terror.
“What can be stronger than the fact that the President has directed the operatives to shoot anyone seen with dangerous weapons like AK-47, on sight, in as much as the person is not a security operative?
“Government is doing this with all seriousness. The President equally directed that the security (operatives) should go after them and kill them except they lay down their arms,” Shehu added.
Governor Ortom, while speaking yesterday at the Government House Makurdi when he hosted the Chairman Governing Board, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Prof Adamu Kyuka, said:
“I wish to commend Mr President for his recent order against those bearing AK-47 rifles. This I am sure will reduce the high rate of criminality, banditry and militia herdsmen attacks on our farming communities.
“I don’t only criticise, I also commend where necessary. And I want to say it is a shame on those psychopaths who were bashing me for writing to Mr President because he has finally heeded my advice.”
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in their reaction, said the security situation required extreme measure to curb, pointing out that AK-47, being a dangerous assault rifle, should not be handled by unauthorised persons.
Its National Publicity Secretary Emmanuel Yawe said: “Though only lawyers can interpret the legality of the President’s order, that the President ordered people to be shot without trial is a legal issue.
“But we agree that there is a need for the extreme measure to curb the spread of arms like AK-47.
“Some governors are even arguing that people should be allowed to carry AK-47 and that is not right. They want the country to dissolve into anarchy. It is not right for private individuals to carry AK-47, which is known all over the world as a very dangerous assault rifle.
“Nigeria is not at war, so why should people carry AK47 freely? Even Dane guns, you need a licence to own it. In Nigeria, people just carry AK-47 freely and they kill people and nothing happens to them.
“The ACF welcomes the President’s order.”