THE father of a 10-year-old boy, who is a member of a vigilante group in the Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State, says his son joined the group to defend his community.
Abdulakadir Ado, who is the leader of the group in the area, said that every child of his son’s age already knew how to handle guns because of the incessant killings, raping and abduction for ransom bedeviling the axis.
He added that the situation they found themselves made his son and others to join the vigilante group to fight banditry.
Ado said, “I am speaking to you as leader of the vigilante group in Safana, we have nothing to do than to appreciate God for the situation we find ourselves. We least expected to see this day, but thank God we were able to make it.
“Everybody in this community has to be a member of the vigilante because whether they join or not when bandits invade the town they will kill everybody. That is why every child of my son’s age already knows how to handle guns.
“About 60 per cent of villages has been deserted and abandoned; a lot of people have relocated to the cities because of insecurity.
“We are the brave ones that usually confront the bandits any time they launch an attack, and with God’s grace, we always succeed. Even though sometimes they also overpowered us, we never gave up in the fight.
I am telling you there’s no month that passes without going to confront bandits, sometimes we seized their weapons and handed them over to security operatives.
“The guns we seized are uncountable, but I can give an estimate of about 200 firearms since the inception of the vigilante group here. Just between January and now I handed over about 15 guns to the Police in this area. We used to snatch AK-47, AK-49, G3 guns and others from bandits and then take them to the authorities because we are not permitted to hold guns.
“We want the government to train and empower us with some facilities for just a week and we will restore normalcy to our area by the grace of God.”
A video showing the ten years old boy with some vigilante members has been trending in the social media.
The video which was shared on various social media platforms has generated mixed reactions as many were tagging it as child abuse and embarrassment to the profession for accommodating an underage.
Meanwhile, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), also known as the child soldier treaty, had already prohibited the act.
The treaty already prohibits the conscription into the military of children under the age of 18. It also stated that military recruits should not be younger than 16.