The Presidency has warned that no state has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said President Buhari has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons, and advised defaulting states to surrender them.
It warned that law enforcement agencies have been given clear directives to deal with adamant outlaws.
The Presidency explained that 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 of the Armed Forces.
It reiterated that no such approvals have been issued to any state government.
It acknowledged that Governor Aminu 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, emphasising that the Vigilantes are not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them.
The Presidency appreciated the active involvement of states with security matters, saying that as they continue to expand their capabilities and their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies, the joint efforts have continued to yield good results.
“The President in particular has expressed happiness that in the last couple of years, security outfits mandated by state governments have been associated with several important initiatives, and that reports have reached him of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism”, the statement reads.
He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels, however, cautioned against the politicisation of security.
The statement pointed out that government at the centre with a national mandate cannot afford to alienate Ondo State or any other state for that matter on the important issue of security, and urges leaders at various levels to exercise restraint in their speech.
Writing by Abdullah Bello; editing by Annabel Nwachukwu