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Presidency to Akeredolu: No state has approval to procure automatic weapons

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The presidency on Tuesday dismissed claims that the Katsina State government has been granted approval to procure automatic weapons for security outfits in the state.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, who made the clarification in a statement in Abuja, said no state in the country has been authorised to procure automatic weapons for its security outfits.

The presidency’s reaction followed reports that the Federal Government had granted permission to the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, to procure weapons for the state security network in the fight against bandits in the state.

The duo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, had recently declared their intention to procure arms for security outfits in their various states.

Akeredolu, who expressed his intention to procure weapons for operatives of South-West security network, Amoketun, said if the federal government can grant Katsina the privilege to procure weapons for security outfits in the state, Ondo deserves the same treatment.

But Shehu insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly made it clear that illegal possession of AK-47s or any other automatic weapons in the country is illegal.

He said: ”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, Governor 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.”

READ ALSO: Akeredolu hails northern governors for supporting state police

He said the presidency appreciated the active involvement of states with security matters.

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

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

Shehu added: ”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.

“The 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.”

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