The Nigerian Presidency has declared that it has not approved any State of the Federation to acquire automatic weapons for its security outfit.
In a statement, Garba Shehu, Presidential Spokesperson, stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had said numerous times that no citizen or State will be permitted to procure AK 47 or any other weapon illegally.
According to Shehu: “The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorised 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.
“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.
“As it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.”
He mainly explained the scenario of Katsina State, where many believe it has acquired weapons.
“In 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 in security matters.
“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, however, cautioned against the politicization of security.”