‘Self defence guaranteed by the constitution’ — Nwabueze backs Danjuma’s call to arms
Ben Nwabueze, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has backed the call to arms issued to Nigerians by Theophilus Danjuma, a former chief of army staff.
Danjuma had a few weeks ago urged Nigerians to defend themselves from armed bandits, saying the armed forces cannot be relied on to do so.
His comments had elicited criticisms from various quarters, and commendation from some.
Reacting to Danjuma’s call to arms in a statement issued on Tuesday in Enugu, Nwabueze said the Nigerian constitution guarantees self defence under section 33(1-2).
Nwabueze, a constitutional lawyer, accused the Muhammadu Buhari administration of mishandling the menace of herdsmen attacks in parts of the country.
“The action which the aggrieved individuals may take in self-defence, guaranteed by the constitution, must be viewed in the context of the extraordinary situation created by the Fulani herdsmen insurgency and the means they employ – AK47 and other sophisticated weaponry,” THISDAY quoted him as saying.
“Faced by an attack by such means, self-defence using sticks, bows and arrows is futile and meaningless. What is the value in guaranteeing a person the right of self-defence and then denying him the appropriate means to exercise the right effectively when the need to do so arises?
“Self-defence, to be effective and meaningful in the prevailing context, must be by means proportioned to the means employed by the attackers.
“Disarming the citizenry and leaving them unprotected against the killer Fulani herdsmen would only render nugatory, to a large extent, the constitutional guarantee of self-defence, viewed again in the context of the extraordinary situation created by the Fulani herdsmen armed insurgency and the failure or inability of the federal government to stop it.
“Danjuma did not just get up one happy, glorious day to make the call. He was moved to do so by the extraordinary situation, with its tragic effects, created by the Fulani herdsmen and the federal government.
“Is it not a shame that the Fulani herdsmen should have been allowed to inflict so much slaughter and havoc on innocent, law-abiding citizens without being disarmed at the initial stages of the conflict and without the wrath of the law being brought down on them?”