No state has been given permission to purchase automatic weapons for its security forces; according to the Presidency.
The presidency said in a statement on Tuesday that illegal possession of automatic weapons and AK-47s is still illegal in the country.
“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,” the statement reads.
“Under this administration, 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.”
“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, 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,” the presidency 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.”
The presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters.
“As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.
President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports of “extreme bravery and professionalism” by state security operatives.
“He thanks them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels,” the statement added.
Furthermore, the administration urged leaders at all levels to ‘exercise restraint in their speech, even as we enter a political season.’