Falana endorses use of arm for self-defense, proportionately

Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has criticized Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, for his remarks expressing his disapproval of the freedom of people to bear weapons, arguing that it is inaccurate to claim that Nigerians have no such right.

He made this comment following coordinated attacks on Plateau state during the Yuletide by assailants.

“I do not support that. I think that is a call for anarchy,” the Army chief had said on Sunday in an interview on Channels Television.

However, Falana, The Nation reports, responded to the army chief’s remarks in a Wednesday interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Breakfast.

Falana said: “In the first place, it is not correct to say Nigerians have no right to bear arms, Apart from the fact that the penal code applicable in the North and the criminal code applicable in the South recognizes the right to self-defence.

“In the first place, we have to discuss the rights and proceed to examine the propriety. In other words, if someone aims a gun at me, and I can quickly grab another gun, I have the right to shoot.”

When asked to clarify if the law allows for one to bear guns, Falana noted that one needs a gun licence.

He said: “But you are required to apply for the licence first.”

However, Falana called for caution regarding what the constitution mandates when it comes to self-defence.

Falana said: “I am just saying the right to self -defence which is also guaranteed by the constitution.

“All I am not allowed to do is not use a force that is not proportional to the threat. In other words, if you are going to hit me with a cane I must not go for a gun which is not proportional.

Falana’s endorsement of citizens’ rights to bear guns coincides with several legislators and governors pleading with the federal government to permit its residents to defend themselves against attacks by robbers and terrorist organizations.

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