Dachung Bagos, a member of the house of representatives, says citizens have the right to defend themselves against violent attacks.
In a statement issued on Monday, the legislator representing Jos south/Jos north federal constituency of Plateau, specifically asked his constituents to defend themselves in the face of assault.
The lawmaker said over 19 people were killed and several houses and properties razed, when bandits attacked Mangu LGA of the state on Saturday and Sunday.
Bagos said residents in his constituency are being “killed daily” by bandits, adding that they should “rise and defend themselves against incessant attacks”.
He said the provisions of the 1999 constitution give citizens the right to “self-defence and the right to exercise it”.
“Sadly, innocent citizens are being attacked and killed on a daily bases in Plateau state particularly in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Mangu,” he said.
“Hundreds have lost their lives since May 2023, and villagers can’t go to the farm. Several displaced persons camps and lands were taken over, and farmlands destroyed. What a wicked world!
“Just on Saturday, 12 persons were killed in Mangu and also yesterday night, seven of my constituents who are miners were targeted and gunned down. This is sad, barbaric and condemned.”
‘OUR LAND WILL NEVER BE TAKEN BY FORCE’
The legislator listed those killed to include — Ishaya David, 25; Paul Dangyuruk, 23; Davou Boyi, 40; Joseph John, 39; Timothy Peter, 35; and Bitrus Dantou — all in Turu, Jos south LGA.
He said “most of my constituents now live in fear of bandits and the attacks are now daily”.
“In the face of this kind of breakdown in the will and capacity of the government to protect the people and their communities, law-abiding citizens must organise to protect themselves,” he said.
“The point here is when the government fails in its constitutional role to protect its people, citizens have a legitimate duty in law and morality to ensure the continuity of human life.”
The lawmaker cited section 33(2)(a) of the constitution, saying the law makes self-defence lawful when undertaken in defence of unlawful violence or for the defence of property.
“I want to call on all Plateau citizens to be alert and defend themselves against attackers, and all Plateau state citizens must unite to defend the land,” he said.
“We are peaceful people, but our inheritance which is our land will never be taken by force,” he added.