…Says only the Commander-in-Chief constitutionally empowered to give directive to Armed Forces on Policy Implementation
By Kingsley Omonobi
Following the directive by the Zamfara State government to citizens of the state to bear arms to defend themselves against unstoppable banditry and terrorist’s attacks, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor has said that the Attorney General of the Federation has a duty to tell Nigerians if the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle has the powers to ask citizens to bear arms.
This is just as the CDS insisted that only the Commander-In-Chief has the constitutional powers to give directives to the armed forces as an instrument of policy implementation
He pointed out that already there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, in particular, and the police and other security agencies, are taking to address insecurity in Zamfara and environs.
Speaking at the opening of a Joint Exercise for the National Defence College and War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, code named “Exercise Grand Nationale,” in Abuja, Irabor said the directive to citizens was not right, as the armed forces and other security agencies were there to handle the challenges.
Reiterating that he was yet to understand the basis for asking the citizens of Zamfara to bear arms, he said,, “It was the responsibility of the Attorney General of the Federation to look at the constitution and the laws to see whether the governor had such powers.
“I believe that, in my view, it is not the right way to go.
“Of course, there are actions that members of the security agencies and the armed forces, in particular, the police and other security agencies, are doing to address insecurity in Zamfara and environs.
“Beyond that, of course, there are other legal issues, other issues of governance, issues that the government could have addressed using the instrumentality of the law that are available for him to bring greater peace and security.
“But like I said, I do not intend to say much about it, but I believe that the Federal Government, using the Attorney General, will look at the details of that press release and give further instruction.
“If what I read is true, I do not also think that the governor has the power to instruct the commissioner of police to issue licenses, because the commissioner of police does not have the powers to issue licenses.”
He disclosed that the armed forces was only an instrument of policy implementation, which do not take instructions from state governments adding that the constitution gave such rights and powers only to the Commander-in-Chief for the use of the armed forces.
His words, “I believe that what we are doing in Zamfara and of course, across the states of the federation, is in deference to the provisions of the constitution.
“So, we are there because we are there to give support to the civil authority, in this case, the police.
“We do not need to restate what the issues are that have led to the deployment of military across the country are, but then, like I said, we are doing the very best to ensure that peace returns to every part of the country.”