In reaction to the statement by the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his insistence to arm the regional state security outfit, Amotekun, the Presidency yesterday stated that it has not granted approval for the use of arms and ammunition for any state or its security outfit.
ALL FACTS NEWSPAPER had earlier reported that that Akeredolu insinuated that the Federal Government is playing double standard by approving arms bearing authority for Kastina State, and subsequently insisted that the Amotekun Corps will bear arm. (READ HERE)
However, the presidency disclosed that only the National Security Adviser (NSA) is empowered to authorize the use of arms and ammunition by security outfit, following proper clearance by the President and Commander-In-Chief, adding that no state has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits.
Speaking in Akure on Monday, during the passing out parade of Ondo State Amotekun’s Courses Three and Four, the governor insisted that the state government would arm the security network to perform its duty effectively.
Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi supported Akeredolu, saying that states should be able to effectively protect their people.
However, in a reaction by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency, while debunking the claim that the Federal Government had issued an authority to Katsina State, warned political leaders to exercise restraint in their comments because of the delicate nature of the current political season.
The statement reads: “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.
“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert 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 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 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 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.”
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