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Amosun’s response to Premium Times raises more questions than answers

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Former Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosun PHOTO: TWITTER/IBIKUNLE AMOSUN

Former Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s rejoinder to Premium Times’ publication on his hand over of firearms and ammunition to the Ogun State command of the Nigerian police has raised more questions than answers.

The Nigerian newspaper said Amosun, on the eve of him handing over the rein of the state’s leadership to his archnemesis Dapo Abiodun, transferred to the police 1,000 AK-47 rifles, 1,000 bulletproof vests, four million rounds of bullets, and an armoured personnel carrier.

Apart from Premium Times, Ogun State-owned OGTV and New Telegraph newspaper quoted Amosun as reeling out the list of the items he handed over to the police on May 28.

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But Amosun’s spokesman Rotimi Durojaiye on behalf of his boss claimed on Tuesday: “that NOT A SINGLE AK-47 RIFLE was handed over at the event.”

He accused the newspaper of carrying out a hatchet job against his principal. But PT’s editor-in-chief Musikilu Mojeed said the newspaper stands by its report.

Both OGTV and New Telegraph published their reports on May 29, several weeks before Premium Times’ detailed report riled Amosun to the point that he had to respond. Why did Amosun wait until Premium Times’ report went viral before reacting?

It is very unlikely that PT will publish such a sensitive report without reaching out to hear his side of the story? Why did he spurn his chance to respond to PT’s investigation? Did he call their bluff?

Beyond that, does the Nigerian law allow anyone apart from securities agencies to have an armoury?

Apart from security agencies, Nigeria’s Firearms Act only permits licensed firearms dealers to establish and maintain armouries.

Section 14 of the Act states: The President may, by notice in the Federal Gazette, establish or recognise public armouries for the deposit of firearms and ammunition and prescribe the officers to be in charge thereof.

This means that the Act allows for the establishment of public armouries.

Was Amosun the president at the time he had such arms and ammunition in the State House? Was the State House even designated as a public armoury?

Durojaiye said, “the merchandise were securely kept in the approved designated armoury within the Government House precincts under police surveillance as it obtains in most Government Lodges, to guarantee exclusive use of the materials in Ogun state.”

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Did this mean that the former governor did not trust all security agencies to keep such “merchandise” in their armouries?

Moreover, the Act does not permit the deposit of firearms in public armouries for more than 18 months. But the spokesman for the former governor said the license for the state to procure the “security items” was granted by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012.

Parts of the items procured were handed to former Inspector General of Police M. D. Abubakar.

If the firearms were procured in 2012 and some were handed over to the police, why did Amosun keep all other “security items” in the state house?

If Amosun could trust the police to nominate the arms supplier, monitor and supervise the supply transaction, why was the same police not trusted enough to store the same sensitive materials since the materials were meant for its use in the first place?

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