A human rights lawyer, Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to licence and grant him and other Nigerians permission to bear AK-47 assault rifles to defend themselves against any attack by Fulani terrorists and bandits.
In the suit with number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1078/2021 filed on Friday, September 17, 2021, before the Federal High Court in Abuja and obtained by SaharaReporters, the lawyer is seeking an order of the court compelling the President and other relevant licensing authorities to grant him and all Nigerians permission and licences to bear arms for self-defence against attacks by bandits.
He said AK-47 rifles should not only be restricted to members of the Armed Forces.
According to him, Nigerian citizens should also be allowed to bear the weapon for proportionality of force.
The plaintiff contended that the Firearms Act violated the fundamental rights of Nigerians to life, to own properties, to movement, and right to family and personal life.
He stated, "That the Nigerian Constitution gives every Nigerian the right to defend their fundamental rights listed above from unlawful violence.
"That in collaboration with the Nigerian Constitution, both the Criminal Code Act and Penal Code Act give every Nigerian citizen the right to self-defence by applying the use of
such force as they believe on reasonable grounds to be necessary in order to prevent their fundamental rights to life, dignity of the human person, personal liberty, private and family life, peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement, and right to own moveable and immoveable property from unlawful violence.
"That for the past 12 years, Nigeria has been faced with violent crimes ranging from killings, bloodletting, kidnapping, arson, rape, armed robbery/banditry, cultism, highway robbery, hijacking, abductions, suicide bombing, ethnic cleansing, communal clashes, ritual murders, human trafficking, terrorism and wanton malicious damage of property.
"That the insecurity in Nigeria is heightened with well-armed criminal elements who are on a daily basis invading Nigeria from other African countries, more particularly West African countries such as Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, and Cameroon.
"If I attack you with a stick, you have a right to defend with a stick. If I attack you a cutlass, you have a right to defend with a cutlass. If I attack you with AK-47, it will foolish for you to defend yourself with a Dane gun."
Addressing journalists shortly after filing the suit, Malcolm explained that AK-47 should not only be restricted to the members of the Armed Forces but that other citizens should be allowed to bear such weapons.
He said, "There should be what we call balance of terror. If I know you have what I have, I will not come and attack you. But today what do we have? We have criminals who come to your house, do whatever they like; kill, rape, and maim because they have what you don't have."
The human rights lawyer said his action was premised on the fact that his letter to the President requesting permission to own and bear a gun in July 2021 had not been attended to.
He noted that the unchecked terror perpetrated by heavily armed criminals with AK-47s, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), and other sophisticated weapons has made nowhere safe in the country as people are being killed in their homes and on their beds for no just cause.
Malcolm said the carnage going on in the country has proved that the President and governors have failed to perform their primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
The suit read in part, "That those kidnapped are taken into the forest, tortured, brutalised, raped, sodomised, starved with hunger and kept under an excruciating condition in the process which many of them die.
"That because of the height of insecurity in the country, I applied to the 2nd Defendant who is the licensing authority of prohibited firearms to grant me licence to possess and own an AK-147 Premium, AK-47 Assault Rifle via my application of 8/7/2021. Attached and marked as 'EXHIBIT C' are copies of the letter to the President and DHL proof of delivery and the acknowledgment of same.
"That despite the fact that the 2nd Defendant received my said application letter on 9/7/2021, he failed, refused and/or neglected to grant my application and thereby deprived me of my right to exercise my constitutional right to self-defence for the protection of my life, family and property and also for the safeguard of my fundamental rights as enshrined and guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.
"That without Nigerians being armed with the right calibre of firearms for their self-defence and the inability of the Defendants, their servants, agents and/or privies to checkmate these criminals, these criminals have seized all the bushes and forests in Nigeria, sacking the farmers from their ancestral land and farms, depriving millions of Nigerians of their means of sustenance, livelihood and income and encircling the entire country."
Other defendants in the suit are the 36 state governors and their Attorney Generals.