ormer Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday disagreed with the Federal Government’s position on the establishment of security outfits by some state governments for security of their people, saying such arrangement is not a call for secession.
This was just as he called on the National Assembly to give necessary legal framework to enable such outfits function effective.
Atiku in a statement yesterday said the nation’s armed and paramilitary forces were overstretched, and commended the people who volunteered themselves for the protection of lives and property.
“To say that we do not need the services of those who are patriotic enough to voluntarily to put their lives at risk to ensure the protection of the lives and property of Nigerians is to deny the obvious,” he said.
Atiku, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, said: “There is too much insecurity in the land and too much inefficiency from the Federal Government, leading to wanton and unnecessary loss of lives.
“It is easy to think that all is well when you are secure in State Houses, but the reality is that the security situation is far from fine for the average Nigerian citizen.”
According to him, the right to self-defence, including the right to combat terror, was guaranteed by international law and enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter of which Nigeria was a signatory.
He condemned attempt by the Federal Government to outlaw community policing, adding that; “No human ambition is worth the failure to speak in support of the people in order to remain in favour with the oppressors of the people.”
He called for the encouragement of the people that had volunteered to provide internal security for the country, and commended groups like the Civilian Joint Task Force in the North-East as well as the hunters and vigilantes.
Atiku said they had provided invaluable service to Nigeria and her people at great cost to themselves, adding that without their altruistic services, the war on terror would have degenerated.
“As a nation, our police, armed forces and paramilitary bodies have shown great gallantry, patriotism and dedication to duty.
“They are our first line of defence against enemies of our nation and saboteurs within our midst.
“I laud, value and acknowledge them, which is why I awarded scholarships and gave other support to the children of some our fallen heroes,” he said.
The former vice-president regretted that government had not been able to provide the needed encouragement and a legal framework to such security outfits.
“In such circumstances, people have inalienable God-given right to self-defence. This divine right, as long as it is limited to self-defence, cannot be declared illegal by man, not by any stretch.
“Internal security is not a call for secession and we must abandon the paranoia that makes us see it as such. All calls for secession must be quashed by the might of the Nigerian state, no exceptions!” Atiku said.