Fact-Check: Did The Nigerian Govt Approve AK47 For Katsina Security Outfit?
Governor Akeredolu claims FG have granted AK47 permit to Katsina security outfit.
Claim: Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has accused the Federal Government (FG) of approving AK47 Rifle for Katsina based security outfit.
Full Text: Reacting to a video showing newly inaugurated Katsina security outfit armed with rifles while parading and singing, Governor Akeredolu criticised federal government for running two systems by not approving sophisticated weapons for western security outfit (Amotekun).
Akeredolu noted that denying Amotekun the rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism which he had been clamoring for.
“That Katsina was able to arm its state security force, with the display of AK47 means we are pursuing one country, two systems solution to the national question.
“If the Katsina situation conferring advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.”
The statement announced that the Ondo government, under the doctrine of necessity, “have decided to fulfil its legal, constitutional and moral duty to the citizens of the State, by acquiring arms to protect them.”
Verification: Investigations by PRNigeria reveals that the Nigerian Fire Arms Act (1990) provides that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition except such person has a license from the President or from the Inspector General of Police.
Similarly the Nigeria Police Force clearly states that “No license will be given or recognized in respect of prohibited firearms and ammunition except if granted by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria upon the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police.”
The same goes for fire arm manufacturing, only the Inspector – General of police can grant a license to make and repair fire arms in Nigeria, however such persons must be duly documented and registered.
Meanwhile, a top Presidency official said that only the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is authorised to issue licences for importation of sophisticated weapons and other controlled items.
PRNigeria, therefore, contacted the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the matter and a source who pleaded anonymity responded as follows: “ONSA has never issued any End Users Certificate (EUC) to any state or group or private individual to acquire and import sophisticated weapons. Meanwhile, only statutory security forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are authorised to possess such highly graded sophisticated assault weapons.”
The source therefore referred PRNigeria to ONSA’s end-user certificate portal https://euc.nsa.gov.ng/ which provides access to members of the general public applying for End-User Certificate (EUC) for importations of controlled items and products into Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Katsina State police command has denied that the state vigilante was given the approval to obtain AK-47 rifles saying they were only trained to defend themselves against bandits who used the rifle to commit crimes. It emphasised that there is no member of the vigilante in the state that is using AK-47.
“The vigilantes were trained on other arms and combat maneuveres. It is not that they were given a license or that the federal government has approved that they should use AK-47 rifles. They were just trained on how to defend themselves,” the statement said.
Also, the Presidency has said none of Nigeria’s 36 states has its authorisation to procure weapons for their security outfits.
“Only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorisation, 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 a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Conclusion/Verdict: Findings by PRNigeria reveals that the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in coordination with ONSA has never issued any End Users Certificate (EUC) to any state or group or private individual to acquire and import sophisticated weapons. Claims by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu that the Federal Government has approved AK47 Rifle for Katsina based security outfit is therefore FALSE.