Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has frowned at the statement by the Presidency in its response to his vow to arm the Amotekun Corps in the state.
The governor, who recently accused the federal government of double standards having ‘approved’ the bearing of automatic weapons for Katsina state while denying Amotekun and others the same privilege, had vowed to arm Amotekun with AK-47s to ensure adequate security for the state in the light of the new dimensions of security challenges in the country.
But the presidency, in a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Garba Shehu, maintained that state security outfits had no power to bear automatic weapons.
“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,” Shehu had said.
“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,” Garba noted.
“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorisation, 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.”
However, Governor Akeredolu, through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, Wednesday, said the submission by Shehu restraining state security outfits bearing automatic weapons, was no longer tenable in the face of increasing security challenges being faced by the people.
The assertion of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on the use of automatic weapons by State Security outfits betrays the current realities across the country,” Olatunde said in a statement.