Policy Weekly Vol.3 Issue 31, September 11- 18, 2020: Beyond Arming Citizens

Originally published



The incidence of gun violence has soared across Nigeria in recent years. A day hardly passes without media reportage of gunrelated injuries and killings by violent criminals. The significant perpetrators of gun violence include terrorists, insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and cultists. The state security agencies have not only been unable to address the rising wave of gun violence, but they have also been a significant contributor to extrajudicial murders. The steady diminution of public safety has led to the formation of vigilante groups and ethnic militias in different areas of the country such as the Amotekun in the SouthWest and Civilian Joint Task Force in the North-East (Saheed and Onuoha, 2019).

However, the protection of lives and property has remained under terrible security threat despite the proliferation of local vigilante groups and other pro-government security actors. This wave of violence has prompted vigorous debate on whether responsible Nigerian citizens should be licensed to bear firearms for selfdefence. Though most Nigerians want a safer society, yet they differ on how to ensure public safety and on whether the proposed changes to guns regulations can be useful. This edition of Nextier SPD Weekly examines this debate and makes recommendations on measures to secure public peace in Nigeria.