Muhammed Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, said this on Tuesday during the second annual ministerial media briefing at the police headquarters in Abuja.
The minister was speaking in the wake of calls by some prominent Nigerians asking citizens to defend themselves against bandits.
The country has seen a surge in the activities of bandits, especially in the northern part of the country.
Last week, Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina, asked residents of the state to rise above meekness and defend themselves against the bandits.
But speaking on Tuesday, Dingyadi said the governor is entitled to his opinion.
“I think we should know that we are in Nigeria, where everybody is entitled to his opinion. I think the governor has the right to canvass for what he thinks it is right in his state,” he said.
“Of course, we shouldn’t expect the people to just be sleeping without taking measures to ensure that they secure themselves, they secure their neighbours and they secure their communities. That is the essence of community policing.
“So, we need to have the support and partnership of Nigerians in the efforts we are making towards fighting crimes and criminalities. I think that is what the governor is talking about.
“Everybody should contribute his quota towards fighting crimes. We are not saying people should take arms illegally.”
The minister, who acknowledged the insecurity in the country, said citizens should play their role in securing their communities.
“What we’re saying is that people should get ready in whatever it takes to do so, to ensure that we protect ourselves, we protect our neighbours, we protect our communities,” he said.