The Presidency has debunked claims that some states have been authorized to buy automatic weapons for their security outfits.
Recall that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had alleged that if the Federal Government could allow a security outfit in Katsina State to carry arms, nothing should stop him from doing the same for officers of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.
On Tuesday, September 27, in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, it was stated that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47s or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them.
The presidency added that under the existing regulation, only the Office of the National Security Adviser could issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief.
The presidency also said that “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 a five-day period ‘in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,’ emphasizing 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.’
“As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities.
“The President in particular has expressed happiness that in the last couple of years, security outfits mandated by state governments have been associated with several important initiatives, and reports have reached him of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism.
“He thanks them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels.
“He, however, cautions against the politicization of security.
“Government at the center with a national mandate cannot afford to alienate Ondo State or any other state for that matter on the important issue of security and urges leaders at various levels to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season,” the statement read.