Why it is legal for Nigerians to defend themselves from attacks – Itse Sagay
– Senior lawyer, Itse Sagay, says allegations that armed forces were assisting bandits to kill people should be investigated
– He stated that the principle of self-defence is prescribed in the criminal law
– Suspected herdsmen kill 5 farmers in Benue
Senior lawyer, Itse Sagay, has said Nigerians were permitted by law to defend themselves from being attacked by bandits.
Sagay who serves as the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) made the statement on
Sunday, March 25, in reaction to calls by a former minister of defence, Theophilus Danjuma, that Nigerians should defend
themselves against herdsmen attacks.
The Nation reports that Sagay said allegations by Danjuma that the armed forces were assisting bandits to kill people and cover
them should be investigated.
He said: “General Danjuma did not say that the military is incapable. But he accused them of bias and not protecting the people
deliberately. That’s a very, very serious accusation.
“And this is coming from such a senior man in Nigeria’s military – probably apart from former General Olusegun Obasanjo and
General Yakubu Gowon, he (Dajuma) is the most senior former military officer we have – and he’s a man who has tremendous
“He has held important positions – chief of staff, minister of defence – so, he won’t speak lightly. So, his allegation needs to
“If there are elements within the military doing this, then the government has to take immediate steps to deal with them and put
people who are responsible and patriotic in the positions.”
When responding to questions if resorting to self-defence by Nigerians would not result in anarchy, he said it was not illegal
for Nigerians to defend themselves, pointing out that the principle of self-defence is prescribed in the criminal law.
Sagay said: “That’s an interesting point. It’s a point I’ve always made myself. It’s not an illegal measure for Nigerians to defend
themselves. If you look at our criminal law, there is the principle of self-defence.
“If someone attacks you, and you feel endangered, and you defend yourself, and in the process you kill the person, the fact
that you were defending yourself is a complete defence to any charge. The right already exists”
“So, I think what General Danjuma is saying is that instead of each individual exercising that right, they should begin to
exercise it collectively in their communities. I think that’s reasonable too.
“There is breakdown of law and order if you’re in your house and someone comes and kills you. I think there will be less danger
of breakdown of law and order if that person knows that the next time he comes to your house, all your neighbours would
gather and stop him.”
Meanwhile, Fatai Owoseni who is the commissioner of police in Benue state has confirmed the death of five farmers in Benue
suspected to have been killed by herdsmen.
The Nation reports that the state commissioner of police in Benue state confirmed the attack on Monday, March 26.
He confirmed that the killings took place in Agatu, Guma and Makurdi local government areas of the state.
He also said three persons were killed in Olegobiudu, Agatu local government area on the night of Sunday, March 25.