Richard Olatunde, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, said that the Ondo State Government would go on to acquire weapons for the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN).
Olatunde made this known in a statement on Wednesday. The statement was a response to Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
Shehu had stated that no state had the president’s permission to acquire weapons for security agencies. “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,” Shehu tweeted on Tuesday.
“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,” Olatunde stated.
“The report by the TVC News that went viral showed the Kastina State vigilantee 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, SAN, asks 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 the guns serve?
“It is rather suspicious that Garba Shehu elected himself as the spokesperson for the Kastina 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.
“Governor Akeredolu has 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 have. It is time to face down these enemies of the people.
“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.
“Governor Akeredolu is determined to spare no efforts in protecting the people. He has vowed to explore every available legal and constitutional means to secure the state and its people. 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-national should be heeded and change effected where necessary. Every governor swore to 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 will continue to speak up in defense of the people. He is very much committed to the realisation of constitutional amendment to reflect the current realities.”
TVC, a Nigerian television, had posted a video titled ‘Katsina Govt Inaugurates Additional Vigilantes to Complement Conventional Security Agencies’ on September 20. The video shows the vigilantes marching with AK 47 rifles.
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