Falana counters army chief Lagbaja on gun ownership

Femi Falana

Rights activist and lawyer Femi Falana has said he disagrees with the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja who thinks civilians should not be given access to guns.

Lagbaja had said on Channels Television’s end-of-year programme that he thinks allowing civilians access to guns “is a call for anarchy”.

Reacting on Wednesday during the broadcast station’s Sunrise Breakfast show, Falana said the law gives one right to self-defence.

“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 recognises the right to self-defence,” he said.

“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.”

The senior advocate however added that the law allows the use of force 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,” he said.

Falana’s support for the right to bear arms by citizens comes as several lawmakers and governors have appealed to the Federal Government to allow its people to protect themselves from incursions by bandits and terror groups.