AK-47 for Amotekun: Presidency replies Akeredolu

Governor Akeredolu

Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu

The Presidency on Tuesday reacted to agitations by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State that operatives of South West Security Network, otherwise known as Amotekun must be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 to do their work of protecting the people.

Gov. Akeredolu had in a statement last week affirmed that Amotekun operatives must also be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons after a video emerged showing vigilante operatives in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state being trained on how to handle Ak-47 rifles.

Also, while inaugurating new corps of Amotekun in Akure, Ondo State Capital on Monday, Akeredolu had insisted that he will procure sophisticated weapons for Amotekun corps so that they can effectively take on the criminals who are always equipped with AK 47 and other grade of weapons.

But the presidency, in a statement on Tuesday evening said contrary to the claim of the Governor, no State in the federation that has been authorised to procure automatic weapons for its security outfits.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s media aide, who made the clarification in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, dismissed reports that Katsina State Government had been granted licence to procure and operate automatic weapons.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari 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.

”This is 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, Gov. Aminu 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,” he explained.

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Shehu affirmed that the presidency appreciated the active involvement of states with security matters.

He, therefore, commended the state governments for assisting security agencies in the ongoing fight against terrorists and other criminals across the country.

Shehu noted that the collaborative efforts of the state governments with law enforcement agencies had continued to yield good results.

This, he said, had been 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 thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels.

”He, however, cautioned against the politicisation 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,” he said.

The presidential media aide quoted the president as urging leaders at various levels to ”exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

(NAN

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