Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, yesterday ridiculed the federal government for saying no state had been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.
Akeredolu had said last week that his state, under the doctrine of necessity, had decided to fulfil its legal, constitutional and moral duty to citizens of the state by acquiring sophisticated weapons to protect them.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, the presidency said unauthorised possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remained illegal in the country
But, in response to the statement by the presidency, Akeredolu, through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said the reasons adduced by Garba Shehu who signed the statement, for the continued refusal to approve the use of sophisticated weapons by the states’ security outfits could no longer be plausible in the face of increasing security challenges faced by the people.
The statement read, “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. His attempt to justify the use of AK47 by the Vigilantes of Katsina State for training stands logic on its head.
“The report by the TVC News that went viral showed the Katsina State Vigilante training with AK47. This is the same weapon which approval has vehemently been refused for the use of Amotekun Corps and other state security outfits.
“The questions Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu ask are: where did the guns come from? Who approved their use? Were the guns returned to the armoury after use? The AK47, as seen from the TVC news report, was about usage.
“If not, what purpose does training with guns serve? It is rather suspicious that Garba Shehu elected himself as the spokesperson for the Katsina State government. Whereas, the Katsina State has not come out openly to deny the statement of Governor Akeredolu on the use of AK47 by Vigilantes of Katsina State during training,” Akeredolu stressed.
Akeredolu reiterated that state security outfits backed by law whether in the western Nigeria, Katsina, Borno, Benue or any northern state must have access to the same sophisticated weapons that the criminals used, stressing the need to face the criminals he described as enemies of the people.
Akeredolu stated, “It is illogical to continue to fight hardened marauders, who bear sophisticated weaponry to kidnap and maim our people, with bare hands.
“We cannot fight armed enemies of the people with our bare hands. It is our firm belief that the government has a fundamental duty to protect the people. It is a task that must be accomplished without excuse.”
Akeredolu said he would spare no efforts in protecting the people, vowing to explore every available legal and constitutional means to secure the state and its people.
He stated, “The Southern Nigeria Governors Forum has called for the establishment of state police. The 19 Northern State Governors and Northern Traditional Rulers Council have also supported the call for state police.
“The call by the sub-nationals should be heeded and change effected where necessary. Every governor swore an oath to protect the state and the people. The sub-national must be allowed to put in place security forces as a counter-balancing force to face these marauders who have unchecked access to sophisticated weapons.
“It is high time we tackled these conflict entrepreneurs and restore the confidence of the people. We cannot do the same thing time and again and expect different results.”
He added that he was irrevocably committed to the security of the people, particularly his state, and would continue to speak up in defence of the people.
Akeredolu said he remained committed to the realisation of constitutional amendment to reflect the current realities.