The Presidency has said no individual or security outfit is allowed to carry an AK-47 rifle or any other automatic weapons.
Naija News reports that the spokesman to the President, Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement on Tuesday while reacting to comments by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
Recall that Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of allowing the Kastina State security outfit to carry arms and denying operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun of the same opportunity.
The governor, however, promised to procure arms for Amotekun operatives if the government can allow a security outfit in Katsina to carry arms.
Reacting to the development, the Presidency said that no state has been given the approval to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit, adding that the possession of arms remains illegal in the country.
It pointed out that only the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Presidency explained that the video and photos of vigilantes in Katsina carrying arms were misunderstood, stressing that the operatives were only been trained on handling rifles.
It stated that Governor Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that his administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their Vigilantes in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles
The statement reads: “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 that they must surrender them.
“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 and 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,’ 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 President 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.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has received reports of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism by operatives of state security outfits. He thanks them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels.
“Furthermore, the President called on leaders at various levels to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season.”