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The Presidency, on Tuesday, said none of Nigeria’s 36 states has its authorisation to procure weapons for their security outfits.
“Only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorisation, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government,” the Presidency said in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
In the statement titled “No state has approval or authorisation for automatic weapons,’’ Shehu noted that any non-state actor in possession of an AK-47 assault rifle or any other automatic weapon must surrender them.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had earlier faulted the Presidency for allegedly approving weapons for the Katsina State Security Outfit while the Amotekun Corps in his state was denied such opportunity.
Other stakeholders have since joined the governor in faulting the government.
But reacting to the developments, the presidency said it “wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation that has been authorised to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits.
“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them. Where they fail to do so, the law enforcement agencies have been given clear directives to deal with any such outlaws.
“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorisation, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.
“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their Vigilantes for five days ‘in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,’ emphasising that ‘the Vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them.’”
Obi lauds Akeredolu
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has commended Akeredolu for his commitment to ensuring the protection of lives and properties of the people of the state through the state security outfit, Amotekun.
Obi, who described the governor as a leader who speaks the truth at all times no matter the consequences, said Akeredolu represented what Nigerians desire at this present time.
“Arm those special security people. Take every step to protect your people. It is important. It is your duty. I am glad you always speak up when it is necessary,” the former governor of Anambra State said during his condolence visit to Akeredolu at the Presidential Lodge, Ondo State Government House, Alagbaka, Akure, on Tuesday.
Group faults Buhari
Before the Presidency’s denial, however, a group, the Yoruba Global Alliance, condemned the President over his alleged refusal to arm the Amotekun Corps and other security outfits in the states.
The group, in a statement issued by its Director of Communications, Taju Tijani, on Tuesday, described the President’s posture on the matter as partisan.
The statement read in part, “We read with shocking dismay the blatant exceptionalism still being displayed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The president’s claim to integrity and national cohesion without fully living up to these virtues could not be more pronounced in the disturbing revelation that the Katsina State government, the President’s home state, was granted permission to equip its security outfit with sophisticated arms, including Ak47 while denying same for other states of the federation.
“We at the Yoruba Global Alliance condemn unequivocally this nepotistic and highly polarising policy in a nation governed by federalism.”