Your claims stand logic on its head, Akeredolu replies presidency on use of AK-47
• Says Amotekun can’t fight armed criminals with bare hands
• Unknown gunmen attack police, kill DCO, detained suspect in Oyo
• Igangan attack: Aare Ona Kakanfo says Southwest becoming vulnerable
Ondo State governor and Chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, yesterday, faulted claims by the Presidency for not approving arms to some state security outfits in the country, in its response to Akeredolu’s vow to arm the Amotekun Corps in the state.
Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has been a consistent advocate for approval for state security outfits to bear arms. He recently accused the Federal Government of double standards, having ‘approved’ the bearing of automatic weapons for Katsina State, while denying Amotekun and others the same privilege.
He vowed to arm Amotekun with AK-47s to ensure adequate security for the state in light of emerging dimensions of security challenges in the country.
But the Presidency, in a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday, maintained that state security outfits have no power to bear automatic weapons.
Responding in a statement made available to journalists in Akure by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu said the submission by Shehu restraining state security outfits from bearing automatic weapons, was no longer tenable in the face of increasing security challenges being faced by the people.
According to him, “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 AK-47 (Pump Action Rifle) by the vigilantes of Katsina for training stands logic on its head.
“The report by TVC News that went viral showed the Kastina vigilantes training with AK47. This is the same weapon, which approval has vehemently been refused for use by Amotekun Corps and other state security outfits.”
The governor then raised a poser: “Where did the guns come from? Who approved their use? Were the guns returned to the armoury after use? The AK-47, 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 Shehu elected himself as the spokesperson for the Kastina State government. Whereas, Katsina has not come out openly to deny the statement of Akeredolu on the use of AK-47.”
The governor reiterated that state security outfits backed by law, whether in Western Nigeria, Katsina, Benue, Borno, like the Civilian JTF 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.”
Akeredolu expressed their determination to spare no effort in protecting the people, stressing that he will explore every available legal and constitutional means to secure the state and its people.
“The Southern 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 a different result.”
MEANWHILE, unknown gunmen have attacked a police station in Oyo State, killing the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) and a suspect, who was in detention with two others left seriously injured.
It was gathered that the DCO, whose name was not yet ascertained at Iganna and one other person, who was in custody of the police, were killed as a result of reprisal attack from Igangan in Ibarapa North council of the state.
A top senior police officer, who broke the news, said a police officer and some suspects were shot at during the attack, which occurred on Tuesday night.
An eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said: “A charcoal man from Igangan met some officers at the checkpoint in Iganna requesting for money but the driver refused, then he was asked to produce his vehicle documents, which resulted in an argument. Out of provocation, the police pointed a gun at the driver. As a result, the driver started dragging the gun with the policeman. Eventually, the driver was shot in the leg and was rushed to hospital.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the incident. He said the command under the leadership of CP Adebowale Williams has promised to make examples of the masterminds of the unfortunate incident.
Osifeso said: “Preliminary investigation revealed that in compliance with the stop-and-search directive on unregistered motorcycles and overcrowded pillions to reduce the spate of robberies and abductions in the axis, operatives of the Command attached to Iganna Divisional Police Headquarters, while on legitimate duties along Elejoka-Igangan road, were attacked by hoodlums who were clearly opposed not only to the directive but as well the relative tranquillity in the axis.
“In furtherance of the above, and in a bid to drive home their point, the officers were attacked unprovoked by the assailants thus leading to the death of the Divisional Crime Officer and a civilian in custody in the process of repelling the hoodlums from invading the Divisional Police Headquarters at Iganna after forcing themselves into the town.
“Also, the Divisional Police Officer and a Police Inspector sustained several lacerations from machete cuts and are currently being stabilised at a government hospital.”
IN his reaction, the Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, condemned the attack, saying the Southwest is fast becoming vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Kehinde Aderemi, said the attackers caught the police unawares.
The Yoruba generalissimo, while urging the police to step up its security system, urged authorities to build lasting security synergy with the local security operatives, saying such would help in addressing security challenges across the region.
He expressed concern at the protracted attacks on Igangan and neighbouring towns and communities in Oke Ogun, wondering why the area has become prone to attacks.
“It is sad that Igangan is in the news again as a result of the recent attack on Iganna police station. The recent attack is a strong signal that the Southwest has become very vulnerable to perennial attacks. With this attack, it is no doubt that gunmen had shown unprecedented desperation to take over the region.”
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.