By Muhammad Ibrahim, Sokoto
Against the backdrop of insecurity and proliferation of illegal arms in parts of the state and beyond, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto has called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to come up with a legislation that would prescribe either a death sentence or life imprisonment for unlawful possession of arms in the country.
Speaking at an interactive session with students and youth on security at the Sultan Maccido Center on Saturday, Tambuwal expressed dissatisfaction over the proliferation of small and light weapons (SALWs) in the country.
According to him, there are more SALWs in the hand of non state actors across the country than there are in the hands of security operatives.
“I am therefore appealing to the National Assembly and the Presidency to come up with a legislation that will prescribe a disarmament period in the country.
“Those in possession of unlicenced arms should go and register them and if the arms cannot be licensed, they should be surrendered to government and the government will pay you your money.
“And after the grace period, a maximum punishment like a death sentence or life imprisonment should be prescribed for unlawful possession of arms. This is the only way we can have peace in this country,” he said
The Governor also suggested a robust recruitment of security manpower, especially the police, in order to ensure the protection of the citizenry.
While calling for an improved renumeration and life insurance for security operatives in the country, he, however, commended the federal government for establishing the Police Trust Fund, which would go a long way in addressing their challenges.
On the bandits activities in some parts of Sokoto, the Governor said arrangements are in top gear to establish a state vigilante group which could be deployed to troubled areas.
The group, he explained would operate the ambit of the law and in conjunction with the security agencies, so “that they will not take law into their hands.”
He recalled that the recent reprisal attacks in which the bandits killed dozens was triggered by the activities of vigilante in some of the areas attacked.
The Governor who noted that ignorance and climate change are among the causes of insecurity in the state, said some of the bandits lacked even basic knowledge of Islam, thus ignorant of what the religion says on killing of innocent soul.
He tasked the dominant religious groups in the state to take their preachings to villages and other remote areas where it was needed the most, saying that education was vital to peace and development.