Monday, July 04, 2022

Nigerian Governor Authorizes some Gun Permits for Self Defense, Shoot Motorcyclists on Sight

Zamfara State in northern Nigeria is suffering from a long-term conflict between mostly Muslim Fulani nomadic herders and mostly Christian Hausa farmers. Zamfara has a population of about ten million, of which about 20% are Fulani and other tribal herders.

Disputes between herders and farmers have been accelerated by increasing populations, the ability of herders to breed and treat cattle for  "tsetse fly" related diseases, and poor and disputed land titles. 

While numbers are difficult to validate, hundreds, possibly thousands, have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their lands and homes.  Armed camps in forested areas, kidnapping and murder are on the rise.

In response, the Zamfara State Government has reacting by allowing more gun permits to defend against "bandits", which is the preferred term for the mostly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, who have used smuggled guns and motorcycles to facilitate their raids. This has lead to retaliation and a lack of security throughout much of Zamfara and other provinces. The Nigerian government is seen by many as favoring Muslims over Christians. 

Some view the Obama administration as favoring a Muslim government in Nigeria over a Christian or mixed government.

The government announcement has been published in several outlets, including the Premium Parts of the announcement are shown below: 

Anti-Banditry: Zamfara Govt Authorises Guns for Residents, Bans Motorcycles

Following increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the state and the government commitment to ensure adequate security and protection of lives and property of the citizenry in the state, particularly during this rainy season, government has resolved to take further measures to deal with the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping and the criminal levies being enforced on our innocent communities.

This act of terrorism has been a source of worry and concern to the people and government of the state. Therefore, in order to deal decisively with the situation in our respective communities, government has no option than to take the following measures:

A. Government has henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.

Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. Government has already concluded arrangement to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 Emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

B. People must apply from the Commissioner of Police, license to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves.

The government announced the formation of centers for intelligence gathering, and the closing of markets, gasoline stations, and a ban on the use of motorcyles. In some districts, anyone riding a motorcycle can be shot on sight.

Furthermore, in view of the deteriorating security situation in Mada, Wonaka, and Ruwan Bore Districts of Gusau local government, as well as Yandoto emirate in Tsafe local government, His Excellency, Governor Mohammed Matawalle MON, Barden Hausa and Shattiman Sokoto, has approved the immediate closure of all markets and Kara in these districts and Yandoto emirate indefinitely.

In addition this, government has equally banned riding of motorbikes and selling of petroleum products in Mada, Wonaka and Ruwan Bore districts, as well as Yandoto emirate.

Henceforth, all filling stations on the affected areas are hereby closed with immediate effect. Anybody found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons at sight.

Farmers have been severely hampered in their defensive actions by their inability to obtain legal firearms. Nomadic groups are more difficult to police and appear to have better access to smuggled weapons.


The addition of less than 10,000 firearm permits does little to adequately arm eight million farmers beset by two million nomadic tribesmen. As military groups, the farmers need to be able to move, shoot, and communicate. The nomads already have significant advantages in the ability to move and shoot. Their communication is likely to be more effective as well. The government previously shut down communications to disrupt the raiders; it had little effect.

The 500 permits in each of the 19 districts will be highly sought. The potential for corruption and bribery to obtain the permits will be great.  

The practical effect is likely to be small. Many farmers have procured locally produced craft-made shotguns and muzzleloaders, illegally. 

Localized militia groups can do much to defend against the type of raids organized in Nigeria. In several other countries, organized militias, supported by the government, such as the Rhondas in Peru, were able to significantly reduce the ability of outside groups to raid. 

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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