The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor has warned state governors against attempts to acquire sophisticated weapons for quasi security outfits.
Irabor was reacting to the one month ultimatum issued by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to the Federal Government to approve his request to obtain an AK-47 licence or he would seek counsel from his people on the best course of action.
The Service Chief said the deployment of high calibre weapons such as the AK-47 rifles among others lies strictly within the purview of the Federal government security agencies alone.
General Irabor said AK-47 and “firearms fall into two major categories. You have the automatic weapons and the ones that we may classify as non-automatic weapons which some of you may even have if you have the appropriate licences. Talking about the Pump Action which is the very common ones, and sometimes even the dane guns some of the hunters use.
“What is involved in the class that mentioned has to do with automatic weapons. There’s no state that has been given licence for that.”
“So, you do not ask for what you do not have power to acquire,” General Irabor stated.
Aregbesola, Dingyadi back Service Chief’s Position
In their contributions, Ministers of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi dismissed the notion that governors also have powers to procure fire arms for their local security outfits.
Aregbesola explained, “No state government has been empowered to arm any of his security operatives or agency. None. So, the false claim that the state government is empowered by the federal government to have his own vigilante or sub national security outfit is false, absolute false!”
He added, “There is a procedure for whoever wants to legally bring in any weapon to follow. And whoever is authorised by the law of the land, to bring in legitimate ammunition, including the army, must go through that process.
“So, whoever wants to import ammunition, armarment or weapons is advised to go through the legitimate process of such activity or act.”
The Minister of Police Affairs, while speaking on the issue of application for the purchase of firearms, said, “government had made it categorically clear that it has not issued licence to any state government or to the organisation to purchase firearms for subnational security measures.”
Dingyadi advised “those concerned to please follow the due process to ensure that they get the appropriate response of the federal government on the matter.”
Asides Ortom, his counterpart in Ondo, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had earlier queried the granting of permission to the Kasina security outfit, whereas other state security outfits were denied to bear arms.