• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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No state has approval to procure automatic weapons – Presidency

Buhari wants LDCs to tap bond issuance for infrastructure

The Presidency on Tuesday said the federal government has not given any state approval to procure automatic weapons for use by its vigilante groups.

The clarification is coming on the heels of insistence by the Ondo State government that it will procure such weapons for the state branch of Amotekun, on the backdrop of reports of similar approvals for Zamfara and Katsina states, for its security outfits

The federal government had earlier denied the Ondo state government similar requests, while reports alleged that the same federal government has given the Zamfara state government approval to procure the weapons for the local Vigilante group to tackle insecurity in the state.

The reported approval given allegedly to Zamfara state and Katsina States has pitched the federal government against the pan Yoruba socio-political group, the Afenifere, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Yoruba Elders Forum (YEF), which accused the federal government of playing “ double standards” in dealing with the issue.

The Afenifere; the Yoruba Council of Elders and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo had berated the Buhari led Federal Government for denying the Amotekun corps the right to bear sophisticated weapons, despite the rampaging terrorist attacks in Ondo state

The leader of Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, while speaking recently in Lagos, insisted that Amotekun should be armed, wondering why such approval can be given to Zamfara while Ondo state was denied.

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The report also forced the Ondo state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to insist on going ahead with the planned procurement of the weapons to tackle insecurity in the state.

But Shehu, while clarifying the Federal government’s position on the issue, strongly asserted that “there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized 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 authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, but Shehu said “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.”

The statement noted that “ the Presidency appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters.

“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.

According to the statement, “ Government at the centre 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.”