Insecurity: ‘Nigerians Have Right To Bear Arms’ — Falana Counters Army Chief, Lagbaja

Femi Falana

Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has faulted Chief of Army Staff Taoreed Lagbaja’s opposition on citizens bearing of arms to defend themselves.

Following the violent attacks in Plateau State during yuletide last year in which over 200 persons were killed, there have been calls for the government to allow citizens carry arms for self defense.

However, Lagbaja rebuffed the agitation, saying granting such request was a recipe for anarchy.

“I do not support that. I think that is a call for anarchy,” the Army chief said on Sunday during a chat on Channels Television.

Reacting to Lagbara’s position, Falana says the Nigerian constitution backed acquisition of firearms by the citizens.

Speaking on Wednesday during the Sunrise Breakfast show on Channels Television, Falana said the laws in both North and South recognised right to self defense.

“In the first place, it is not correct to say Nigerians have no right to bear arms. Apart from the fact that the penal code applicable in the North and the criminal code applicable in the South recognises the right to self-defence.

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“In the first place, we have to discuss the rights and proceed to examine the propriety.

“In other words, if someone aims a gun at me, and I can quickly grab another gun, I have the right to shoot,” he stated.

Asked to clarify if the law allows for one to bear guns, the human rights lawyer replied in the affirmative, noting that one needs a gun licence.

“But you are required to apply for the licence first,“ he said.

However, Falana sounded a note of caution as regards what the constitution mandates when it comes to self-defense.

“I am just saying the right to self-defence which is also guaranteed by the constitution.

“All I am not allowed to do is not use a force that is not proportional to the threat.

“In other words, If you are going to hit me with a cane I must not go for a gun which is not proportional,“ he added.