PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that no state in the country has been given the approval to purchase and acquire sophisticated weapons for their various security outfits.
A senior presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement on Tuesday September 27 in reaction to a statement by the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, which criticized the Buhari-led administration’s handling of security matters in the country.
Akeredolu had, in a statement he signed last week, flayed the federal government’s alleged arms approval to the Katsina State security outfit while denying the Western Nigeria Security Network (Amotekun Corps) the same right.
The governor said that denying Amotekun the urgently needed right to bear arms while the same was approved for a similar outfit in the North was a repudiation of the basis of true federalism, which he said Nigerians have been clamouring for.
He said that denying Amotekun the right to bear arms exposes the South-West to life-threatening marauders and organised crime, noting that it was a deliberate destruction of the region’s agricultural sector and an existential threat.
The governor vowed that the necessary laws would be put in place to back the purchase of arms for the Amotekun Corps.
Reacting, Shehu said that the president had in numerous times in the past stated that no citizen or state would be allowed to procure AK 47 or any other weapon illegally.
He said, “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 if they have such weapons, 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.”
He added that under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser could issue an authorization upon proper clearance by the president, stressing that Buhari has not issued such an approval to any state government.
He specifically explained the scenario of Katsina State, which many people believe had acquired weapons.
According to him, the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, wrote to explain to the federal government that he invited the provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train the state’s vigilantes for five days ‘in the handling and operations of pump action rifles’.
He added that the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the federal government but to assist them.
While appreciating the active involvement and achievements of states in security matters in stemming security crisis in the country, the president cautioned against utterances that could politicize the nation’s security.