The Presidency has made it clear that no state in Nigeria will be allowed to procure automatic weapons for security outfits.
It said that 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.
The Presidency’s warning came today, September 27, in a statement by a presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, against the background of some state governments that are planning to arm their local security outfits, the latest being the Ondo State government.
The statement said that 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.
It said that 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.
“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.
“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.”